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AND OTHER TRUE CASES 

ANN RUl£S CRIME FILES: Vol.14 • _, 



ALSO FROM POCKET BOOKS— THE DEFINITIVE 
WORK OF AMERICAN TRUE CRIME 

$7.99 U.S. 

$10 99 CAN ^^ STRANQER BESIDE ME 

Ann Rule's chilling account of 
knowing Ted Bundy — now updated! 

ANN RULE TAKES YOU TO THE HEART OF TODAY'S MOST 
PROVOCATIVE CASES IN THESE RIVETING BESTSELLERS 

TOO LATE TO SM QOODBYE 

QREE^N RIVER, RUNNINQ RED • HEART FULL OF LIES 

WITHOUT PITY • EVERY BREATH YOU TAKE 

. , . AND NEVER LET HER QO • BITTER HARVEST 

DEAD BY SUNSET • EVERYTHINQ SHE EVER WANTED 

IF YOU REALLY LOVED ME 

READ HER#1 BESTSELLING CRIME FILES SERIES 

MORTAL DANQER • SMOKE, MIRRORS, AND MURDER 
NO REQRETS • WORTH MORE DEAD 
KISS ME, Kill ME • LAST DANCE, LAST CHANCE 
EMPTY PROMISES • A RAQE TO KILL 
THE END OF THE DREAM 
IN THE NAME OF LOVE 
A FEVER IN THE HEART 

YOUBELONQTOME 
AROSEFORHERQRAVE 



AND COMING SOON IN HARDCOVER 

Ann Rule exposes long-buried secrets inside 

a shattering homicide case — the strange and 

violent death of a female state trooper — in 

SCALES OF JUSTICE 





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EAN 



PRAISE FOR 

"AMERICA'S BEST TRUE-CRIME WRITER" 

(Kirkus Reviews) 

AND HER #1 NEW YORK TIMES 

BESTSELLING SERIES 

ANN RULE'S CRIME FILES 

Fourteen riveting volumes of true-crime stories 
drawn from her personal collection 

"Chilling cases. ... A frightening, fascinating rogue's gal- 
lery of mercenary murderers." — Mystery Guild 

"Prolific and talented Rule proves her warranted reputation 
as one of true crime's leading lights. . . . With a novelist's 
skill, Rule brings to life a rich case." 

— Publishers Weekly (starred review) 

"Spine-tingling . . . could win a place in any insomniac's 
heart." —Barnesandnoble.com 

"Fascinating, unsettling tales. . . . Among the very small 
group of top-notch true-crime writers, Rule just may be the 
best of the bunch." —Booklist- 

"Rule's ability to depict both criminals and victims as be- 
lievable human beings is perfectly embodied in this sad, 
fascinating account." — Library Journal 

"Gripping tales. . . . Fans of true crime know they can rely 
on Ann Rule to deliver the dead-level best." 

—The Hartford Courant (CT) 



MORE MUST-READ TRUE CRIME 

FROM ANN RULE— DON'T MISS THESE 

CELEBRATED BESTSELLERS 

Ann Rule worked the late-night shift at a suicide 

hotline with a handsome, whip-smart psychology 

major who became her close fiiend. Soon the world 

would know him: Ted Bundy, one of the most 

savage serial killers of our time. . . . 

THE STRANGER BESIDE ME 

Now in an updated edition! 

"A shattering story . . . carefully investigated, written with 
compassion but also with professional objectivity." 

— Seattle Times 

"Overwhelming!" — Houston Post 

"Ann Rule has an extraordinary angle . . . [on] the most 
fascinating killer in modern American history. ... As 
dramatic and chilling as a bedroom window shattering at 
midnight." — The New York Times 

TOO LATE TO SAY GOODBYE 

"The quintessential true-crime story. . . . The mesmerizing 
tale of how law enforcement coordinated information from 
two deaths separated by nearly a decade to convict Bart 
Corbin of murder. . . . Prepare yourself for a few late nights 
of reading." — Bookreporter. com 



GREEN RIVER, RUNNING RED 

"[Rule] conveys the emotional truth of the Green River 
case." — Los Angeles Times 

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ally felt sense of urgency." —People 

HEART FULL OF LIES 

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— The Washington Post 

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technique places her at the forefront of true-crime writers." 

—Booklist 

EVERY BREATH YOU TAKE 

"Affecting, tense, and smart true crime." 

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. . ,AND NEVER LET HER GO 

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embellishment." — People 

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gain new insights." —The Orlando Sentinel (FL) 

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— The Washington Post 



BOOKS BY ANN RULE 

Too Late to Say Goodbye 

Green River, Running Red 

Every Breath You Take 

Heart Full of Lies 

. . . And Never Let Her Go 

Bitter Harvest 

Dead by Sunset 

Everything She Ever Wanted 

If You Really Loved Me 

The Stranger Beside Me 

Possession 

Small Sacrifices 

Ann Rule s Crime Files 
Vol. 13: Mortal Danger and Other True Cases 
Vol. 12: Smoke, Mirrors, and Murder and Other 

True Cases 
Vol. 1 1 : No Regrets and Other True Cases 
Vol. 10: Worth More Dead and Other True Cases 
Vol. 9: Kiss Me, Kill Me and Other True Cases 
Vol. 8: Last Dance, Last Chance and Other True Cases 
Vol. 7: Empty Promises and Other True Cases 
Vol. 6: A Rage to Kill and Other True Cases 
Vol. 5: The End of the Dream and Other True Cases 
Vol. 4: In the Name of Love and Other True Cases 
Vol. 3: A Fever in the Heart and Other True Cases 
Vol. 2: You Belong to Me and Other True Cases 
Vol. 1 : A Rose for Her Grave and Other True Cases 

Without Pity: Ann Rule's Most Dangerous Killers 

The 1-5 Killer 

The Want- Ad Killer 

Lust Killer 



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in 2011 



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BUT I 

TRUSTEDYOU 

AND OTHER TRUE CASES 

ANN RUl£'S CRIME FILES: Vol.14 



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Pocket Books 

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New York, NY 10020 



The names of some individuals have been changed. Such names are 
indicated by an asterisk (*) the first time each appears in the narrative. 

Copyright © 2009 by Ann Rule 

All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or 
portions thereof in any form whatsoever. For information address 
Pocket Books Subsidiary Rights Department, 1230 Avenue of the 
Americas, New York, NY 10020 

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To the late Sheriff Chris Hansen 

of Montcalm County, Michigan, my grandfather. 

Our grandfather inspired me and all my cousins 

with his ability to talk to almost anyone, 

his understanding of human nature, his skill 

as an investigator, and his compassion. 

Many decades ago, Robert Ripley chose 

Chris Hansen for his feature "Believe It or Not " 

because he never had to fire his gun during his long 

career as a lawman. The Hansen descendants are 

spread all over America now, and most of us chose 

to be police officers, lawyers, social workers, 

prosecutors, parole and probation officers, 

teachers, or writers. 

We all owe a lot to our grandfather, 
a Danish immigrant who settled in Michigan! 



Acknowledgments 



There are so many cases in But I Trusted You, and so many 
real people in each of them, that this will be a long list. I 
could not possibly have learned this many details without a 
great deal of help from detectives, prosecutors, witnesses, 
jurors, and victims' families. 

Thank you to Brad Pince and Jim Scharf of the Snohom- 
ish County Sheriff's Office, Eloise Schumacher and Peyton 
Whitely of the Seattle Times, Susan, Lieutenant Frank 
Chase, Ted Forrester, Rolf Grunden, Bruce Morrison, Jerry 
Harris, Mike Gillis, Harlan Bollinger, Len Randall, Mark 
Fern, and the late Sam Hicks of the King County Sheriff's 
Office. Billy Baughman, Dick Reed, Ted Fonis, Wayne Dor- 
man, "Bud" Jelberg, Bob Holter, and John Boatman from 
the Seattle Police Department, and to Sergeant L. E. Robin- 
son of the Enumclaw Police Department and Park Ranger 
Harry De Lashmutt. Chief of detectives Bill Patterson of 
the Chelan County Sheriff's Office helped me a great deal, 
and so did Lieutenant Walt Kezar of the Oregon State Po- 
lice, the Oregon State Board of Parole, and special thanks 
to Rob Romig of the Eugene Register-Guard. 



XI 



ACKNOWLEDGMENTS 

Thanks to Chuck Wright, Gerry Hay (my first reader, 
always), Ken Heide, Donna Anders, Kate Jewell, Shirley 
Hickman, Marni Campbell, Mike Hare, and all the Jolly 
Matrons from Willamette University and the University of 
Washington (faded but still lovely): Joan Kelly, Susie Mor- 
rison, Betty May Settecase, Shirley Coffin, Alice Govig, 
Sue Dreyer, Tricia Potts, Val Szukavathy, Gail Bronson, 
and Shirley Jacobs. 

To Dawn and Gary Dunn, Matt Parker, Justin Robison, 
and to the ARFs (Ann Rule Fans — long may they wave!). 
And my gratitude to those readers who haven't yet become 
certified ARFs knows no bounds. I couldn't have even one 
book without you. 

My thanks to my longtime literary agents — Joan and 
Joe Foley, my theatrical agent — Ron Bernstein of ICM, 
my editor — Mitchell Ivers, and to Jessica Webb, who 
helped me every step of the way! My attorney, Felice 
Javits, checks everything I write to be sure it is absolutely 
factual. 

I haven't forgotten the production crew at Pocket Books, 
who remind me graciously about looming deadlines: Carly 
Sommerstein, Sally Franklin, Lisa Litwack, and Ayelet 
Gruenspecht. 

Th^nk you also to Theresa Leonard, Sandy Biscaro, and 
Reisa Schmidt. 



xii 



BUT! 

TRUSTEDYOU 



Contents 



Foreword 
1 

But I Trusted You 

7 

Death in Paradise: 

The Haunting Voyage of the Spellbound 

175 

Sharper than a Serpent's Tooth 

213 

Monohan's Last Date 

253 

Run as Fast as You Can 

303 

The Deadly Voyeur 

339 

Dark Forest: Deep Danger 

369 



Foreword 



There are infinite variations on the motive, means, and 
excuses for the darkest crime of all: murder. Some are un- 
premeditated and leave the killer full of remorse, while 
other homicides sink to the crudest depths imaginable and 
the murderers feel absolutely no twinge of conscience. 
Most of us would be capable of taking another person's 
life, but only to save ourselves or someone vulnerable. 
Mothers — ^both human and animal — kill without a thought 
to protect their young. And that isn't truly murder. Sol- 
diers shoot to kill on the battlefield, and police officers 
sometimes have no choice but to use deadly force. Any 
cop will tell you that the officer who is responsible for a 
death in the line of duty "suffers as much or more than the 
criminal." 

"Conscience doth make cowards of us all," William 
Shakespeare wrote in Hamlet. But he was wrong. There 
are human beings who have no conscience. They don't 
feel remorse, or regret, or guilt about the horrible crimes 
they have committed. They may shed crocodile tears, and 
they cry when they are caught, but they weep only for 
themselves. 

1 



FOREWORD 

The cases in this book — ranging in time from a few 
years ago to more than three decades into the past — are 
about homicides that were both devious and comphcated. 
The killers planned their crimes, and drew victims in to a 
point where they placed their confidence in someone who 
was both sly and deadly. In hindsight, their machinations 
seem blatant and easy to recognize. 

But in the beginning, their "masks," and their ability to 
say just the right thing at the right time, were often impen- 
etrable. 



The longest case, and the title case I explore in But I 
Trusted You, is about a couple whose meeting was ro- 
mantic, whose marriage seemed fated, and whose final 
separation was unbelievable. They had it all — at least to 
anyone looking at them ft"om the outside of their relation- 
ship, and even to many who knew them well. Of the two, 
the husband seemed the more bizarre. He often watered 
their lawn or picked up the morning paper in minimal 
clothing, but their neighbors had long since become used 
to it. His jubilant personality won them over. 

The couple lived in a kind of fishbowl. From the living 
room of their charming house on a picturesque lake, visi- 
tors could peer through the glass floor and view the king- 
sized waterbed below. 

He was a school counselor, and she operated a small 
resale shop — modest and respectable professions, and yet 
theirs is one of the strangest and most multifaceted stories 
I have ever come across. 

"Death in Paradise" may not have been a betrayal of 



FOREWORD 

trust at all; perhaps what happened in the tropical waters 
off Papeete was only a sad series of accidents. I have to 
admit that we may never know the complete truth, but the 
ill-fated journey of the Spellbound will never be erased 
from my own memory — not until the hidden aspects of a 
case that sounds more like fiction than fact are revealed. It 
will undoubtedly haunt you, too, just as it haunts those 
who survived. 

In "Sharper than a Serpent's Tooth," 1 explore another 
case of a disappearance that suggested a violent and 
deadly end. No one knew for sure if Lorraine Millroy left 
her comfortable home of her own volition or if she had no 
choice. She had many of the usual problems that divorced, 
middle-aged women face. Still, she wasn't depressed, or, 
rather, she didn't seem to be. Family problems cropped up 
occasionally, but money wasn't an issue. On a bitter cold 
night, detectives searching her home for some hint of 
where she might be came across items of evidence that 
gave them a sense of foreboding. As anxious as they were 
to locate Lorraine, whether she was alive or dead, they 
hoped they hadn't focused on the right suspect. It was 
someone whom Lorraine loved, counted on, held high 
hopes for, and, yes, trusted. 

"Monohan's Last Date" reflects the mores of a brief 
period in American history. The 1 960s were all about the 
love generation, but as the decade eased into the 1970s, 
love gave way to an intense curiosity about sex. Cosmo- 
politan editor Helen Gurley Brown shocked America with 
her book Sex and the Single Girl in 1962. Her basically 
innocuous book opened up the floodgates. Masters and 
Johnson's research and subsequent publications shocked 



FOREWORD 

the public deliciously, and The Joy of Sex came along ten 
years later, along with the movie Bob and Carol and Ted 
and Alice. 

"Swinging" and "wife swapping" intrigued couples 
whose marriages had become mundane, but in most cases 
the results were disastrous, and it wasn't long before they 
ended up in divorce court. 

In "Monohan's Last Date," a highly successfiil business 
man, who had been recently divorced, became involved 
with a group of swingers through a magazine called The 
Seekers. Their leader was friendly and fast-talking, and his 
CB handle was "Dudley Do-Right " Frank Monohan liked 
him and his lifestyle, and he saw no danger behind "Dud- 
ley's" broad smile. 

But, of course, there was. Frank Monohan placed his 
confidence in the wrong man. 

This case began in the thick brush at the summit of 
a lonely mountain pass, stumped detectives in four 
jurisdictions — including the FBI — and led them on a 
four-year chase across the United States. But, in the end, 
they untangled the mystery of a peculiar liaison that led 
inexorably to murder. 

In "Run as Fast as You Can," a killer's motivation can be 
traced directly to a horrific bloody attack he witnessed as a 
small child. Whether any amount of counseling might have 
mitigated the psychological damage he suffered is a moot 
point. His parents were brilliant and wealthy, and they lived 
in an upscale neighborhood near a scenic park. His many 
trips to the waterfront park seemed a totally wholesome 
pastime. In reality, he was there to watch and to stalk, hid- 
ing in the trees and shrubs while he chose his targets. 



FOREWORD 

"The Deadly Voyeur" demonstrates that we are often 
most in danger when we fee! safe. Everyone should set an 
alarm bell in their subconscious minds. If they are sud- 
denly threatened or accosted, they will then have an auto- 
matic plan to use in those precious seconds they have to 
escape from a potentially deadly situation. If they don't 
make the right choice, they are trapped. The young couple 
who met a prowling monster were not prepared for such 
an event. Even in their worst nightmares, they couldn't 
have imagmed there were minds like his. 

"Dark Forest: Deep Danger" is about a case I first in- 
vestigated in the 1970s. In some sense, it remains almost 
as mystifying today as it was then. Even so, as I reinves- 
tigated this inscrutable tragedy, I may have come upon an 
answer to what happened to a family of four who went 
into an Oregon forest to have a picnic and an outdoor 
adventure. 

And vanished. 

As time went by, they were found, but the discovery 
only brought about more questions. Perhaps a reader will 
have the answers that will finally put a horrendous mys- 
tery to rest forever. Possibly readers will agree with my 
theory. 



BUT I TRUSTED 
YOU 



Chapter One 



The slender strawberry blonde and the school 
counselor whose home was three thousand miles away in 
Washington State met in such a seemingly romantic way 
that they seemed destined to be with one another: he was 
in New Orleans for a ten-day educational conference, and 
she was a concierge at a fine hotel in the Mardi Gras city. 
It would have been better, perhaps, if his judgment hadn't 
been somewhat obscured by the romance of it all. In retro- 
spect, she undoubtedly knew exactly what she was doing. 
It was 1988 when their story began. Teresa Gaethe was 
twenty-seven then, and she had deep roots in Louisiana 
and Florida. Trying to trace those roots, however, is almost 
impossible. Gaethe was her first husband's surname; her 
maiden name was probably Jones, but she didn't tell 
Charles "Chuck" Leonard that. She said her maiden name 
was Goldstein before she married a stock broker named 
Gary Gaethe, and she subtly alluded to her family's 
wealth, only the first of the many exaggerations and down- 
right lies she would tell Chuck. Teresa's family — two 
sisters and a brother, and her parents — met Gary Gaethe 
only twice, once before she married him and once again 



ANN RULE 

when they attended their daughter's wedding. Teresa said 
she and Gary had lived aboard a wonderful sailboat during 
their brief marriage. 

It was a somewhat bizarre celebration. Lois Patois,* 
Teresa's older sister who had always tried to look after her 
siblings, recalled, "My whole family went to Teresa's 
wedding, and there was a gentleman that had come down 
from like a balcony area, and he had a gun — a big gun." 

From then on, Teresa's family wondered if their sister's 
bridegroom was involved in some things that "weren^t 
normal." Teresa said nothing to disabuse them of that im- 
pression; she enjoyed having mysteries in her life. She 
stayed married to Gary Gaethe less than two years, actu- 
ally living with him for only a few months. 

As they sipped cocktails far into the night, Teresa gave 
Chuck the impression that she worked not out of necessity 
but because she enjoyed interacting with the guests who 
patronized the hotel where she was employed. 

When Chuck told her that he had a master's degree 
from a highly rated Jesuit college — Seattle University — 
and that he was working to be qualified as a school princi- 
pal, she volunteered that she had a college degree. She 
probably didn't, but following her tangled background to 
its sources is akin to untangling a ball of yam after a kitten 
is through playing with it. 

Teresa was five feet, six inches tall, but she was small- 
boned and sometimes appeared to be far more delicate 
than she really was. In truth, she had a backbone of steel 
and usually got what she wanted. Her green eyes gave her 
a seductive quality. She knew how to attract and please 

*The names of some individuals have been changed. Such names are indicated by an 
asterisk (*) the first time each appears in the narrative. 

10 



BUT I TRUSTED YOU 

men, and she spent a great deal of time on her clothes, 
hair, and makeup. Sometimes, she looked like Sharon 
Stone, and then again she could be as guileless and inno- 
cent as Doris Day. 

She had a cute little pug nose and thick blond hair, and 
a good, if somewhat boyish, figure. She kept her nails long 
and lacquered bright red. But she wasn't technically beau- 
tiful; she also had a "spade chin," too elongated for her 
face to be perfect, and she didn't like her nose. 

Haltingly, Teresa told Chuck that she felt lucky to be 
alive; she said she had survived open-heart surgery when 
she was a child, but she assured him that she was in good 
health now. She showed him the scars left from her cardiac 
operations, and he worried about her. He thought she 
might be protesting too much when she said she had no 
lingering effects from such drastic surgery at a young age. 

Chuck Leonard was a very complicated man. He was a 
natural-born caretaker, but he was also something of a he- 
donist. Chuck Leonard was, as his sister, Theresa (with a 
name close to Teresa) said, "a rescuer." He was five years 
older than his only sibling and he'd always been a caring 
big brother and he liked that role. The women in his life 
tended to be younger than him — and somewhat dependent 
and needy. 

Probably Teresa Gaethe appealed to him both because 
she was very attractive and because she seemed lost and in 
need of a strong shoulder to lean on. It may have been the 
story she told him about her bad heart. 

More likely, it was because Teresa was skilled at figuring 
out what different men wanted. And she quickly deduced 



11 



ANN RULE 

that Chuck wanted someone who needed him, women he 
could mentor into a more Hilfilling life. And, in certain 
ways, Teresa fit into that category. 

Like Gary Gaethe, Chuck Leonard was twenty years 
older than Teresa, but he didn't act or look his age. He had 
a trim, muscular build, and handsome even features with 
clear light eyes beneath hooded lids. Chuck had a thick 
head of hair that his barber cut in the latest style. Some- 
times he had a crew cut, and occasionally, he let it grow 
below his ears and down to his shoulders. When Teresa 
met him, he had a thick, brushlike mustache. 

During the many evenings they spent together, he told 
her about his waterfront home in Washington State, his 
great job with the school district, his airplane, and his vin- 
tage sports cars. That was all true, but Chuck's cars and 
plane were older models. And he'd built his house and 
property into what they were by dint of his own hard 
physical labor. 

Teresa assumed he was wealthy. One Washington de- 
tective surmised that each of them thought the other had 
no money problems. 'Tn the end, they both got fooled — 
but Chuck got fooled more." 

Actually, Chuck didn't care if Teresa had money, and he 
didn't deliberately mislead her. He was making a fairly 
good salary, and he was able to afford those things he ' 
wanted. He owned property beyond the house he remod- 
eled, and he lived comfortably. 

Oddly, Teresa told Chuck she was two years older than 
she really v/as — a switch on the usual adjustments women 
make to their true ages. Perhaps she wanted him to think 
that their ages weren't that far apart. 

12 



BUT I TRUSTED YOU 

When Teresa and Chuck fell in love his friends thought 
it was because of a mutual physical attraction and not be- 
cause either was a fortune hunter. Or so it seemed. In retro- 
spect, one could wonder if Teresa would have allowed 
herself to become deeply involved with Chuck so rapidly if 
she knew he didn't really have the assets of a truly wealthy 
man. But she did miss him a lot when the educational con- 
ference ended and he flew back to Washington. 

He missed her more. Chuck wrote to Teresa three times 
a day, mailed sentimental cards, and sent her flowers from 
his own garden, careftilly packed in green tissue paper 
with water-filled glassine tubes so that they arrived in 
good condition. 

Teresa's heart wasn't totally devoted to Chuck Leonard. 
In 1987, before she met Chuck, she had carried on an in- 
tense aifair with another man for six months. His name 
was Nick Callas,* and she'd met him when she went to 
Hawaii to work. Callas was a realtor and Teresa went to his 
office inquiring about housing. They were both single and 
they could not deny the immediate chemistry between 
them. 

But after six months Nick still hadn't made any move 
toward a permanent relationship, so Teresa returned to 
New Orleans. They exchanged cards and phone calls from 
time to time. After she met Chuck, Teresa wrote to Nick 
and told him that she would be living in Washington State. 

Not long after, Callas married someone else. And he 
lived even farther away from New Orleans than Chuck 
did — in Hawaii. Nick was the same age as Chuck, but be- 
yond that they didn't resemble each other. Callas was well 
on his way to becoming rich, while money mattered little 

13 



ANN RULE 

to Chuck. Like most men of Greek heritage, Callas was 
dark and swarthy, and boldly handsome, with a head of 
thick wavy black hair. 

Teresa tended to gravitate toward older men; the three 
she was closest to were all almost two decades older than 
she was. Perhaps she was searching for a father figure. As 
the doors of her secret life slowly opened over the years, 
one could understand why. 

Gary, Nick, and Chuck all fit that role; they were all 
kind to her and concerned about her — at least initially. 

Teresa knew Nick was wealthy because he'd shown her 
many of the properties he owned. She sometimes won- 
dered what her life would have been like if Nick had cho- 
sen her instead of his wife, Grace.* 

Eventually, in about 1989, Nick seemed to disappear 
from Teresa's life. After her loneliness and frustration in 
trying to balance not one but two long-distance relation- 
ships, it wasn't difficult for Chuck to persuade Teresa to 
visit him at his Snohomish County home on Lake Good- 
win near Stanwood, Washington. She had been married 
once, and Chuck had one or two ex -wives, but he'd been 
divorced for years. 

"Chuck thought he had found his soul mate," his sister 
Theresa said. "Teresa came out for Thanksgiving in No- 
vember 1988." 



Chuck had seemed to be a confirmed bachelor for de- 
cades. His first wife, Reisa, had been a sixteen-year-old 
high school student and he'd been twenty-one when he 
proposed. 

14 



BUT I TRUSTED YOU 

"It wasn't romantic at all," Reisa recalled. "We'd been 
dating and I knew Chuck wanted to avoid being drafted 
and sent to Vietnam. He didn't want to go to Canada, ei- 
ther. He picked me up at school one day and told me we 
were going to get married, and if I didn't say yes, he would 
find another girl." 

Reisa wasn't happy at home and she did care about 
Chuck, so she agreed. Chuck wasn't nearly ready to settle 
down, but their marriage did delay his being drafted for a 
few more years. However, they had no children and even- 
tually Chuck's draft number came up. He was sent to Fort 
Lewis — south of Tacoma, Washington, for training. 

Reisa Leonard was very fond of Chuck's family. She 
and his sister Theresa bonded, and she liked his natural 
mother, Ann, who was ftin to be around. Chuck's father, 
Fred, resembled Humphrey Bogart with his cigarette hang- 
ing from his mouth. "He was a good-looking man," Reisa 
said, "and he was interesting." 

And so was his son, who always had some new plan 
and was filled with energy. 

"When Chuck was at Fort Lewis, he got a brilliant 
idea," Reisa recalled. "Those poor kids from the Midwest 
missed their mothers' cooking, so Chuck went into the pie 
business. Ann made wonderful pies, and she taught me 
how to make them, too. We would make a bunch of them 
and take them to Chuck at Fort Lewis. He sold out of his 
locker for a good profit." 

But it was against army rules, and his sergeant found 
out and made Chuck eat all the pies left in his locker. 

Chuck was sent to Germany. In one of his few senti- 
mental gestures toward Reisa, he gave her an engagement 

15 



ANN RULE 

ring and wedding ring he'd won playing cards in his bar- 
racks. She was touched, even though the set had only 
small diamond chips. 

After almost four years, Reisa and Chuck's marriage 
died of its own weight, and they divorced. Although she 
stayed close to Theresa, Reisa went thirty-five years with- 
out seeing her young ex-husband. She took a job with the 
Kitsap County Sheriff's Office, married twice more, and 
had a son. 

Whether Chuck Leonard married again before he met 
Teresa Gaethe is questionable. He did have a daughter dur- 
ing one of his short affairs, but they were not close. When 
she grew up, she looked for him and they had begun a ten- 
tative relationship that looked promising. 

Teresa totally captivated Chuck, and for the first time in 
decades he actually thought about forming a permanent 
bond with a woman. 

WTien Teresa saw Chuck's house, she was impressed. 
Painted a soft gray, it rose three stories and was set right 
on the lake. A small emerald velvet plateau of grass paral- 
leled the shoreline; it looked as if it had been trimmed 
with manicure scissors. Chuck was a perfectionist when it 
came to things like his house, his property, and his cars. 
He obviously had a green thumb; there were flowers 
blooming all over his property, along with pine, cedar, and 
fir trees. He was justly proud of his home. He explained to 
Teresa that he had built it from a cabin, digging out the hill 
at the lake level to facilitate two extra floors. It was beauti- 
fully maintained and welcoming, even though it wasn't 
quite the big lodge that Teresa had pictured in her mind. 



16 



BUT I TRUSTED YOU 

And she had no intention of becoming a gardener; it 
would ruin her nails. 

Still, she told Chuck that she was very impressed with 
his house and landscaping and praised him for his work on 
the place. 

Chuck had excellent taste in furniture, and he'd hung 
his grandmother's oil paintings. His former girlfriends 
had picked out rugs, lamps, and other items that didn't 
always match. The result was eclectic, but it comple- 
mented the inside of the lake house, just as the landscap- 
ing did the exterior. 

Teresa didn't know anything about cars, so she didn't 
realize Chuck's prize Porsche was powered by a Volkswa- 
gen engine. He had had sports cars since he was a young 
man and took pride in his expertise at rebuilding engines 
and other car parts. Some of Chuck's detailing of his assets 
had been all flash and little substance, but he obviously 
loved his home, his cars, and his plane. 

And he couldn't do enough to make Teresa happy. 
Heretofore a ladies' man who often dated several women 
in the same time period. Chuck Leonard was bedazzled by 
his Southern love. He believed her when she told him she 
was Jewish and her family name was Goldstein, and 
warned his parents and other relatives not to serve pork or 
ham for Thanksgiving. He gave Teresa Hannukah cards, 
and did everything he could to acknowledge her religion. 
What her purpose was in claiming to be Jewish remains a 
mystery; sometimes it seemed that she just enjoyed being 
untruthful — it gave her some kind of control. 

"She was aloof," Chuck's sister recalled, "even though 



17 



ANN RULE 

everyone tried to please her, and we carefully followed 
whatever Jewish customs Chuck said were important to 
her." 

Teresa seemed to care for Chuck, and he adored her — 
and that was what mattered to his family. 

Chuck's sister Theresa noted almost immediately that 
Chuck's new bride was nice enough to her when he was 
around, but dismissive when they were alone. As long as 
Theresa agreed with her new sister-in-law, things went 
fairly well. And yet she sensed an odd seething anger just 
below Teresa's surface. 

"She could cut you out of her life and be incredibly 
cold," Chuck's sister said. "She kept me at arm's length. I 
hated that we had the same name." 

Theresa wondered why Teresa didn't try a little harder 
to fit in with the family. Chuck's relatives had been pre- 
pared to welcome his new love, but she was more often a 
prickly pear with them instead of an affectionate relative. 
She was warm— even seductive — with Chuck and his 
father. The older man was quite taken with her. 

At first. 



18 



Chapter Two 



Teresa never returned to New Orleans to live, and 
she visited only once more. Her sister, Lois, who grew up 
to marry a sergeant with the Louisiana State Police and to 
teach children with special needs, talked about the terror 
she and her two sisters had suffered in their home. No one 
ever helped them because they didn't tell. They were 
raised never to confront their father — Ervin R. Jones — 
who was a steamship captain for the Lykes Brothers 
Steamship Company when they were small and was rarely 
home. Later, his daughters longed for those days. 

The three younger children were girls, and they had a 
brother, Frank,* who was eight years older than Lois. 
Teresa was six years younger than Lois, and Macie* was 
the youngest. 

There was information that suggested Ervin Jones had 
fathered a child outside of his marriage — a boy. He had 
written tuition checks to a private boys' school for a long 
time. 

It would be many years before the Jones girls' memo- 
ries were voiced. There were secrets upon secrets in their 
home — which looked, from the outside, like a typical 

19 



ANN RULE ^■ 

middle-class family lived there. This is so often true: 
shame and fear keep sexual abuse victims silent. 

Teresa's mother's maiden name wasn't where Teresa got 
the Jewish name she preferred. Her mother's maiden name 
wasn't Gloria Goldstein; it was Gloria Sheehan in some 
documents, a good solid Irish name. On her birth certifi- 
cate, Gloria's last name is listed as Miecikowski. 

Teresa told Washington acquaintances that she and her 
mother went to Texas every year on vacation — just the two 
of them. That wasn't true. 

Gloria Jones passed away of cirrhosis of the liver in 
October 1990, and Teresa flew back to New Orleans for 
the fiineral. Her sisters picked her up and they sat together 
in the funeral parlor. 

They didn't have long to talk. Lois and Macie weren't 
really sure where Teresa had been over the years. The 
sisters were together only sporadically and much of her 
life was a mystery to them. Lois was very surprised when 
Teresa told her she had a son, and his name was Taylor. 
Lois couldn't recall later if she had seen Taylor's photo- 
graph, but she didn't think she had. 

Two years later, their father died in December 1992. He 
also had cirrhosis of the liver. Teresa didn't go to his fti- 
neral. All three sisters mourned their mother, but not their 
father. They blamed him for their mother's death, and for 
their own years of abuse at his hands. Teresa said she 
didn't even know where he was living when he passed 
away, "somewhere in the Midwest." 

By the time her parents died, Teresa was so removed 
from her family emotionally and geographically that local 



20 



BUT I TRUSTED YOU 

police in Washington State had to track her down and no- 
tify her of their passing. 

Teresa Jones aka Gaethe aka Goldstein and Chuck 
Leonard were living together on Lake Goodwin. They co- 
habited for more than a year before Chuck agreed to 
marry her. He had some reservations, but he loved her and 
thought they could work out whatever problems they had 
once they were married. 

Chuck's friends were often baffled by some of Teresa's 
stories which seemed to have no basis in fact. She told them 
she was a "world-class water-skier," but even though she 
and Chuck lived on a lake, no one ever saw her water-ski — 
or snow-ski in the Cascade Mountains. 

"She also told us that she was due to come into a huge 
inheritance," a female neighbor said. "But as far as I know, 
it never happened." 

Chuck and Teresa had set a date for their wedding: 
June 1990. The wedding itself would be a simple "city 
haH"-type of ceremony with friends as witnesses. But 
that would be followed a few days later by a large recep- 
tion for family and friends at the lake house. 

"It was almost as if they had a secret ceremony," Chuck's 
sister remembers. 

Teresa didn't invite any of her family members to either 
her civil wedding or to the reception. Her mother was ill, 
and she didn't want her father there. As it turned out, the 
Joneses of Louisiana weren't nearly as wealthy as Teresa 
had implied. She came from a working-class clan, and 
she'd had to work. Chuck could not have cared less. He 
was happy to take care of her. 



21 



ANN RULE 

After their wedding, Chuck's smile was even wider 
than usual as he posed in his wedding tuxedo, a sprig of 
lily-of-the-valley in his lapel and his new gold wedding 
band gleaming on his finger. 

Their wedding reception at Chuck's Lake Goodwin 
home began with a lot of laughter and toasts as Chuck's 
friends arrived to congratulate them. Oddly, the new 
bride had hired a bouncer to be present at the reception. 
He was a tall, muscular man she worked with at the Bon 
Marche department store. 

There was one very embarrassing incident at the recep- 
tion. One of Chuck's neighbors, an old friend named Jan, 
brought an uninvited date. She was one of Chuck's many 
former girlfriends. Everybody else who showed up was 
welcome. It wasn't as if Teresa's security guard was check- 
ing off names at the front door, and it had been a long time 
since Jan's date had dated Chuck. They hadn't even gone 
out for long. Even so, Teresa was livid, wild with jealousy. 
She asked her bouncer to throw Jan and the woman out. 
Incredulous and humiliated, they left, along with several 
of the other guests, who moved the party down the street 
to Jan's house. 

Chuck was mortified by the whole episode. 

The next day, Jan came by to talk with Chuck. "You've 
made a big mistake," he told Chuck. 

Rather than being angry. Chuck answered sadly, "I 
know." 

And suddenly. Chuck disappeared for two or three days 
to decide what to do about his fledgling marriage and 
Teresa's bizarre behavior. 

"He was gregarious and had lots of friends," his sister 

22 



BUT I TRUSTED YOU 

recalled. "But he was a private person, and incredibly in- 
trospective." 

It would have been impossible for Chuck not to dis- 
cover some of Teresa's lies. She had brought her car with 
her when she moved from New Orleans to Washington 
State, and then it disappeared. She told everyone that it 
had been stolen. 

"That wasn't the case," one neighbor said. "It was re- 
possessed." 

Chuck had never thought to check out Teresa's back- 
ground; he'd always taken her at her word, even when her 
past seemed tilted and full of missing pieces. So far, none 
of the half-truths had hurt their relationship severely 
enough to drive them apart. He pondered his choices and 
realized he still loved her 

Chuck came back from his solitary trip. After much 
thought, he had decided to stay with Teresa, but he had 
glimpsed a side of her he hadn't really recognized before. 
She resented not only his former girlfriends but also his 
male friends. He realized that if she had her way, he would 
cut them all completely out of his life. He wasn't about to 
do that. 

According to his sister and many of his close friends. 
Chuck Leonard was "bigger than life." He got along with 
everyone. 

"That was what drew people to him," Theresa said. "He 
always had a laugh, a broad smile, and a complex inner 
life." 

"But Teresa was nasty to everyone," the same neighbor 
said. "And sarcastic. She ignored Chuck's friends. The 
men didn't like her, and she made their wives cry. She 



ANN RULE 

would say things like 'Oh, are we having a nice day?' but 
it didn't sound like she cared — it was sarcastic and deri- 
sive." 

Teresa was much harder to read than Chuck. It was dif- 
ficult to know just what she was feeling. Sometimes it was 
impossible for her sister-in-law to make eye contact with 
her. Teresa's expression was a mask — a facade, blocking 
anyone from getting close to her. 

Now that she and Chuck were married, it seemed that 
Teresa set out to deliberately alienate his friends' wives 
and fiancees even more. The men naturally opted out of 
the Leonards' social circle when the women in their lives 
weren't welcome or came away hurt or insulted by the way 
Teresa had treated them. 

Chuck and his sister Theresa had grown up in the navy 
base town of Bremerton, Washington, and he was "ex- 
tremely loyal" to his friends. Even though the paths of 
their lives had diverged, once someone was Chuck Leon- 
ard's friend, he remained so. Some of them went back to 
his childhood and he cherished them. One of his closest 
friends had been a best pal back in Bremerton when they 
were fourteen. 

But as Teresa insulted more and more people. Chuck's 
world became smaller. He didn't always know what she 
had done or said to hurt people, but she was adept at mak- 
ing others feel unwelcome. 

Her pattern was much like that of men who "own" the 
women in their lives. Teresa succeeded in isolating Chuck 
from a large number of the people who mattered to him. 
Still, once committed, he was determined to make their 
marriage work. He made excuses for her behavior — if only 

24 



BUT I TRUSTED YOU 

to himself. She had had a difficult life, full of illness and 
sadness before he had "rescued" her, and he kept believing 
she would change if only she felt safe enough with him. 

Chuck continued counseling teenagers — first at Cascade 
High School, and then at North Middle School. 

Left behind in his desk at the former school was a love 
letter from some woman in his life. Teresa didn't know 
about that, and it probably wasn't important to him. If it 
had been, he would have taken it with him. 

But Teresa was suspicious of Chuck's contact with any 
female over sixteen. She told people that Chuck had been 
seen behaving inappropriately with one of his female stu- 
dents. This wasn't true. 

In some ways, Teresa appeared to be a good sport. 
When she had realized that she would have to work to help 
pay their bills, she'd found a ftill-time position as a Liz 
Claiborne specialist at the Bon Marche (now Macy's) in a 
nearby shopping mall. She was an excellent saleswoman, 
bonding with a loyal clientele, and she did well with her 
salary and commissions. She was always impeccably 
dressed with perfect hair and makeup. 

Teresa Jones-Goldstein-Gaethe-Leonard was a woman 
of many names, many faces, and many moods. She may 
well have had more surnames than even Chuck knew 
about. One of Chuck's friends said a long time later that 
she had seen a suitcase belonging to Teresa that was fiill of 
papers and cards for different identities. 

She was a seductress of both men and women — if not 
physically, then psychologically. Teresa had an innate abil- 
ity to recognize what people wanted fi-om her, and could 
use that to get back what she sought from them. 

25 



ANN RULE - ^ 

A number of women who knew Teresa described her as 
"sweet." She was popular with most of her female cowork- 
ers and friends, especially those who were younger and far 
less experienced than she was. She became a role model 
for them. They thought her life sounded so exciting and 
listened avidly as she related fascinating anecdotes. They 
believed her without questioning. 

Basically, Teresa was a "man's woman," and didn't care 
all that much for women, unless they were in a position to 
better her life. 

With her female friends, her mien was either that of a 
naive, \nilnerable woman — a role in which she was also 
believable — or she was a living, walking soap opera for 
female friends whose own lives weren't nearly as interest- 
ing as hers. 

One of Teresa's customers at the Bon Marche became a 
very close friend. Joyce Lilly* dropped by regularly to buy 
Liz Claiborne products, and they often had lunch together. 
Eventually, Joyce, too, got a job at the Bon Marche, and 
their friendship became even closer. 

Teresa hinted to a few intimate friends that she had 
suffered at the hands of men. She was attracted to men, 
but deep down she didn't trust them. It gave her a com- 
mon ground of experience with a lot of women she met, 
and those who had bad experiences with men were drawn 
to her. 

Still, she couldn't see a way to have the kind of life she 
wanted without letting down her guard with certain men. 
For the moment, Teresa felt Chuck was the man who could 
help her the most. Like almost all the other men in her life, 
he was considerably older that she was. She appealed to 

26 



BUT I TRUSTED YOU 

older men, and may have sought them out — looking for a 
father figure to cherish her. . . or to punish. 

Chuck Leonard was undecided about having children; 
he was past forty and he had never particularly wanted 
children of his own. When he was much younger, he had 
fathered his daughter, who was placed for adoption. He 
wasn't mature enough to be a parent then. Chuck cared a 
lot about the teenagers he counseled and showed affection 
and concern for them. It was a moot point anyway, be- 
cause Teresa had confided to him she could not have chil- 
dren. 

That wasn't the truth, however; Teresa had never been 
told she was barren. And she had confided to someone she 
worked with that she hoped to have a child or children. 

"Children open doors for you," she said. The other 
woman had no idea what Teresa meant. 

Teresa's relationship with her sister-in-law remained 
abrasive and dismissive. Neither trusted the other very 
much, and Chuck's sister worried about her brother's hap- 
piness. Maybe the two women — Teresa and Theresa — 
were just too different. Like Chuck, his sister was highly 
educated, a no-nonsense woman who was independent and 
capable. 

She also tried to make excuses for Teresa. It might be 
possible that Chuck's new wife was trying too hard to es- 
tablish her position with him and as part of the family. 
Perhaps she was shy and awkward in social relationships, 
although that seemed unlikely. Theresa backed off, always 
hoping that one day they might become friends. 

"Teresa liked to give people advice," Theresa Leonard, 
who has a master's degree in psychology, said. "So I made 

27 



ANN RULE 

a point of asking her opinion on decorating and clothes, 
and things like that, hoping it might give us something in 
common. But it didn't." 

It came to a point where Chuck's sister no longer saw 
him and his wife very often. 

Theresa's efforts to bond somehow with Chuck's wife 
became even more important when Teresa and Chuck an- 
nounced nineteen months after their wedding that they 
were expecting a baby. 

Theresa became "Aunt Theresa." At least it helped to 
spell out which one of them was Chuck's sister and which 
one was his wife. 

And so it turned out that Teresa was not infertile after 
all. (What had become of her son Taylor — if, indeed, he 
had ever existed — ^no one knew. Probably Chuck never 
even heard of this son Teresa told her sister about.) 

Chuck was taken completely off guard by her preg- 
nancy. She had flat-out lied to him about her ability to bear 
a child, and she'd made many visits to a fertility expert 
without telling Chuck. 

At this point, he was quite willing to accept a baby into 
his life, realizing this might be his last chance to actually 
raise a child. He wasn't sure how Teresa felt about being 
pregnant. 

Even though she had visited doctors so that she could 
bear a child, now that she was pregnant, Teresa acted as if 
she was ambivalent about the prospect. 

Chuck told Teresa, "It's up to you if you want to keep it 
or not. I'll go along with whatever you decide." 

She considered having an abortion, but finally decided 
to have the baby. 

28 



BUT I TRUSTED YOU 

Teresa's labor was induced on December 30, 1991. Te- 
resa was annoyed at what she considered Chuck's insensi- 
tivity when he dashed out to get fast food and brought it 
back to the labor room to eat when she was in pain. She 
later said her labor progress stalled and her obstetrician 
decided her pelvic canal was too narrow to deliver her 
baby, necessitating a caesarean section. Again, she lied; 
she delivered normally. 

She gave birth to a daughter, whom they named Morgan. 
Her father and mother both adored her. Chuck, especially, 
was thrilled with his beautiful baby girl and spent hours 
gazing at her. 

"He was over the top in love with her," his sister said. 
"He'd never realized it would be that way." 

As Morgan grew bigger, he took her to the lake in 
warm weather and watched as she paddled around; he 
took her to fairs, where she rode on the merry-go-round, 
and to his school to show her off to his fellow teachers. It 
was clear that Chuck Leonard loved every minute of being 
a father, much to his own surprise. 



Teresa had experienced labor once (possibly twice), and 
she didn't want to go through it again. During a routine 
checkup after Morgan's birth, her gynecologist found that 
she had a small fibroid tumor. Many women develop fi- 
broids in their thirties and forties, but they are almost 
never cancerous and invariably shrink after menopause. 
Teresa didn't have heavy bleeding with her periods or any 
of the other indications that the fibroids were large 
enough to necessitate removing her uterus. Even so, she 

29 



ANN RULE 

demanded a hysterectomy, and she was resolute about her 
decision. 

Once more, Chuck acceded to her decision and she got 
her way, but she asked about having her eggs saved and 
frozen, just in case she wanted to use them in the future. 
Teresa had a partial hysterectomy in July 1993. At her re- 
quest, her surgeon left one ovary and one fallopian tube. 
She would still have plenty of female hormones, and 
would produce viable eggs — which could be implanted 
into another woman's uterus by an in vitro process. She 
could never carry a child herself, but through modem 
technology, she would be able to be the biological mother 
of a child. 

To the casual observer, the Leonards appeared to be a 
happy couple. Teresa didn't want to work full-time away 
from home now that she had Morgan, so with Chuck's 
blessing, she rented some space in a shedlike building in 
the nearby small town of Marysville, Washington, and 
opened a store called The Consignment Shop. 

She painted it pink and decorated the windows and the 
building itself with cartoon drawings of fashionably 
dressed women. Teresa told a lot of people she owned a 
"boutique," but that was stretching the meaning consider- 
ably. 

Many hamlets in Snohomish County had become mec- 
cas for shoppers seeking out antiques, vintage jewelry, and 
gently used high-end clothing lines. The stores flourished 
when shoppers from Seattle, Bellingham, and even British 
Columbia discovered them and told their friends. 

Teresa brought in a number of her wealthy customers 
from the Bon Marche; she'd kept her customer list. She 

30 



BUT I TRUSTED YOU 

was clever at deciding what would sell in her tiny store, 
and she kept careful records of items people had left for 
her to sell on contingency. Some of her Bon Marche cus- 
tomers placed expensive clothing and other treasures with 
her. When something sold, she kept a small percentage of 
the price and gave the rest to the seller. She enjoyed her 
small business, and while she wasn't making a munificent 
living, she did well enough to buy things for Morgan and 
clothes for herself, and eventually to hire employees. 

Teresa's shop worked well for her because she had a real 
knack for putting together outfits for would-be customers. 
Teresa could take a plain dress, add a scarf or some jewelry 
and a coordinating purse — all secondhand — and make it 
look like a thousand-dollar outfit. She'd always done that 
with her own clothes, and now she used her talent in her 
consignment store. She was extremely professional, even 
waxing the clothes racks so that garments slid easily, and 
she kept meticulous books so that she could pay her bills 
and her consignors promptly. 

Most important to Teresa, she could take Morgan to 
work with her; her two clerks or friends who dropped by 
were there to share the babysitting duties. She seemed to 
be a good mother, almost idolizing Morgan. Her friends 
believed that Teresa's whole life revolved around Morgan. 

And so did Chuck's. Morgan always seemed delighted 
when her father came to pick her up. "She was maybe a 
little bit spoiled, though," one woman said. "If she was 
playing with her toys, she wouldn't go with either one of 
them." 

There was no question that both Chuck and Teresa 
loved their small daughter, but as the years passed, the 

31 



ANN RULE 

bloom was fading fast from their love for each other. Of 
course all marriages settle in as the years pass, and the 
emotional highs and lows tend to smooth out, but with the 
Leonards, it was more than familiarity or boredom. Chuck 
had always been the man in charge, someone with an ex- 
pansive personality, who did pretty much what he wanted 
to. But now, his friends and family noted that Teresa con- 
trolled him, chose which of his friends she liked, pouted 
when she didn't get her way, or, worse, flared into anger. 
Chuck tried hard to please her and keep a semblance of a 
happy home — mostly for Morgan's sake. 

Chuck was willing to do anything to be able to stay 
with Morgan. 



Teresa began to think a lot about Nick Callas, wondering 
if she should have let her Hawaiian love go. To test the 
waters, she sent him a Christmas card. Nick contacted her 
and they renewed their friendship. From then on, Teresa 
and Nick stayed connected, but he remained with his wife. 
Although Grace had helped Nick get a foothold in busi- 
ness, it was his skill and charisma that had built his com- 
pany to the top levels it now reached. By 1995, he owned 
prize property all over the islands. 

There was no question that Nick Callas was rich 
enough to give Teresa all the luxuries in life that she 
longed for, along with credit cards and a healthy stock 
portfolio. They began an intense correspondence and 
talked about meeting once again. He promised to send her 
a first-class ticket if she decided to come to Hawaii to visit 
him. She was sorely tempted. 

32 



BUT I TRUSTED YOU 

Callas's wife, Grace, often went to southern California 
with their adopted son, who was two months older than 
Morgan. Grace was a nervous woman who complained of 
chronic health problems and stayed with her sister while 
she sought the best possible medical treatments. 

Nick had dated many willing females when he was sin- 
gle, but it didn't take long for Teresa to rise to the top of 
his list as a lover. He'd never forgotten her, but he had cho- 
sen Grace, and her family's money had helped him in his 
mortgage and real estate business. 

Like Chuck, Nick was easily distracted by pretty 
women. 

Not surprisingly, Teresa's marriage to Chuck Leonard 
had foundered, growing worse each year. He hadn't been 
the answer to her search for happiness after all. 

Was it even possible for Teresa to find happiness? She 
wanted so much, and it didn't appear to matter to her what 
happened to people who got in her way. Now, the wants 
and needs of Chuck Leonard or even her own daughter 
came after her thirst for wealth and love. She felt her hus- 
band had never given her what she had needed and ex- 
pected fi-om him. 

Chuck was Chuck, and it amazed some of his friends 
that he had married at all: they knew him as a guy who 
dated many women. He was an individual, a little bizarre 
at times. He was a free spirit. When he got home from 
work, he started tossing his clothes on furniture and on the 
floor as he walked through his house. He probably would 
have been happier in a tropical climate. His neighbors had 
long since grown used to seeing him out in his yard, gar- 
dening or watering his precious grass patch next to the 

33 



ANN RULE 

lake, often nearly nude in a bikini bathing suit and flip- 
flops. It had never really bothered anyone. 

He was a good-natured guy and a good neighbor. 
Chuck was far handsomer than he had any right to be for a 
man of his age, and women often came on to him. In the 
first years of his marriage, he began a physical relation- 
ship with a female coworker whom he'd known for seven 
or eight years. Her name was Michelle Conley,* and she 
was an attractive teaching intern, a few years older than 
Teresa. Michelle responded to him in a way his wife 
hadn't for a long time. 

They first became intimate when Teresa was pregnant 
with Morgan. The Leonards had something of an open 
marriage. Whether they both knew it and discussed it with 
one another is questionable. 

At least outwardly, neither Chuck nor Teresa appeared 
to be unhappy with their relationship. Chuck had a real 
rapport with teenage students, and his counseling helped 
many of them who were suffering through some of the 
more difficult times of life. He had saved some of them 
from suicide. 

Along with Morgan, those kids gave him a reason to be 
happy. After he had his second daughter, no one could say 
Chuck hadn't tried to keep their family together, even if it 
was probably because he loved Morgan so much. He made 
no promises to Michelle, but, as Teresa grew colder to 
him, he felt closer to Michelle, and she definitely wanted 
to marry him if she could. The more Teresa pulled away 
from him, the more Chuck sought out Michelle. However, 
like most men, he wasn't interested in getting divorced 
and remarried. 

34 



BUT I TRUSTED YOU 

There was Morgan and she came first. 

In July 1992, Chuck and Michelle were involved in an 
embarrassing incident, more likely to happen to teenagers 
than middle-aged educators. A Marysville police officer 
approached Chuck's car where it was parked on a quiet 
street at six in the evening. His police report said he 
found Michelle, whose clothing was in disarray, sitting on 
Chuck's lap, and noted that Chuck was completely naked. 
They were both removed from the vehicle, handcuffed, 
and placed in the back of the police unit. Michelle was 
cited for disorderly conduct, and Chuck for indecent ex- 
posure. 

At their trial, they were acquitted of the charges. But 
naturally, Teresa learned of the incident and it didn't help 
their already teetering marriage. They stayed together for 
a few more years, but it became more of an adversarial 
relationship, held together only by their shared love for 
Morgan. 

And then, quite suddenly, the Leonard marriage was 
over. Teresa had seen brighter prospects on the horizon: 
she was in touch regularly with Nick Callas. Nick was rich 
now, and it didn't matter to Teresa that he was married. 

In early 1995, Teresa took three-and-a-half-year-old 
Morgan and moved out of Chuck's house at Lake Good- 
win into an apartment on Everett Mall Way, an hour's 
drive away. 

Teresa had written to Nick Callas, telling him that she 
was coming to Hawaii with a friend and she would like to 
see him. He responded with plane tickets and the promise 
of a place for them to stay. 

It hadn't taken long for Teresa to feel quite secure in her 

35 



ANN RULE 

affair with Nick Callas, and she fully expected they would 
marry in the foreseeable future. She invited Joyce Lilly to 
join her on a vacation to Maui in February 1995, the first 
of four trips to Hawaii where Joyce accompanied her. 
Over the next two years, Teresa would visit Callas once a 
month or more. 

The two women would stay in one of Nick's more luxu- 
rious condominiums, and when they arrived, there were 
exotic fresh flowers waiting for them in the Napili Shores 
condo. Nick came by a few hours later, and Joyce watched 
as he and Teresa hugged and kissed, and then Teresa sat on 
his lap while the three visited. 

The next morning, Joyce was awakened at 5:30 a.m. by 
someone sitting on her bed. It was Nick, who apologized 
profusely. He had meant to wake Teresa up. He moved to 
the other bed, wakened her gently, and then the two of 
them walked out to the veranda. 

Joyce realized that Teresa wasn't exaggerating about 
her affair with Nick Callas; they certainly seemed to be 
entranced with one another. By July 1995, Teresa confided 
that Nick sent her the monthly first-class tickets to Maui, 
and checks for $1,000 to $1,250 as regularly. During the 
weeks that Chuck had custody of Morgan, she would 
sometimes spend several days in Hawaii with Nick. 

When Teresa was in Washington, despite Nick's in- 
volvement in his many business interests, they usually 
called each other up to ten times a day. Nick called Teresa 
more than she called him, but they were constantly in con- 
tact. Nick would recall later that they talked mostly about 
his son Jack* and Morgan. 

"Sometimes we talked about movies," Nick remem- 

36 



BUT I TRUSTED YOU 

bered. "We had brief calls that ended when someone came 
into her little shop, or people walked into my office, but 
sometimes we talked for a couple of hours." 

In July 1995, Teresa filed for divorce. 

Teresa's divorce action against Chuck seemed to be 
more a threat than a reality. In any event, neither Teresa 
nor Chuck pursued it avidly. Chuck consulted an attorney, 
who advised him to keep the divorce unsettled. That 
would establish a pattern of joint custody and help him 
gain custody of Morgan. 

After much wrangling, they worked out a grudging 
custody arrangement, agreeing that Morgan would stay 
with each of them during alternate weeks. As long as 
Chuck knew that his little girl was living close by, he 
would do whatever was necessary to be with her, even stall 
a divorce that he wanted as much as Teresa — or more. 

Morgan gave Teresa leverage with Chuck, and she felt 
confident that he would do what she wanted: all she had to 
do was threaten to take Morgan far away from him. And 
that is what she planned to do — but not yet. 

Morgan had become a pawn, someone Teresa could use 
to advance her own goals. She seemed unable to under- 
stand that taking Chuck away from Morgan, robbing her 
of her father, would be a cruel thing to do — and a great 
loss in her daughter's life. Teresa's Hawaiian lover could 
never care for the child the way Morgan's real father did. 
Nick had never even seen Morgan, although Teresa had 
met his little boy a few times. 

Teresa Gaethe-Leonard had a plan in mind, but the lo- 
gistics involved were going to be tricky. Until she was ab- 
solutely sure that she had a safe and luxuriant landing 

37 



ANN RULE 

place, she was not going to divorce Chuck. Her lover, 
Nick Callas, was still very married. Although she didn't 
admit it to her friends, Nick and she had never even dis- 
cussed his getting divorced. 

Teresa was even a business boost for Nick. She worked 
as an outside salesperson for Orca Travel and she often 
connected clients and her lover when they were looking 
for high-end housing in Hawaii. The referrals she occa- 
sionally sent him were a good cover, too. Although Nick 
had special phone lines set up for them to talk, if Grace 
ever wondered about the calls, he would say that Teresa 
was a business contact. 

Nick continued to buy Teresa round-trip tickets to Ha- 
waii, she had an American Express card with his name on 
it, and he provided lodging in one of his plush condos 
whenever she could fly to the islands. But he was content 
with the way things were, and he believed she was, too. 
Among her many talents, she was a persuasive actress. 

Teresa was the perfect mistress. She never discussed 
anything depressing with Nick. "Teresa shares only posi- 
tive things with me," he said once, "not negative things." 

In the two years of their passionate affair, he learned 
virtually nothing about her early years in Louisiana with 
her family. If Nick asked her anything about them, she be- 
came quiet — but offered no information. There were se- 
crets within secrets in her past that Nick didn't know, and 
Teresa meant to keep it that way. 

In Nick Callas 's memory, they hadn't talked about any 
unhappy aspects of their affair because there weren't any. 
Their time together was joyous and relaxing, full of pas- 
sion. They were able to step out of their own everyday 

38 



BUT I TRUSTED YOU 

lives and enjoy each other whenever Teresa came to Ha- 
waii. Sometimes, Nick came to the Northwest for a few 
days and they took trips together to ski lodges and resorts. 
They never discussed marrying one another, and Nick felt 
neither of them expected or wanted that to happen. He 
was unaware of plans for Teresa and Morgan to move to 
Hawaii, and he certainly had no intention of divorcing his 
wife. 

'i got married once," he said later. "I waited until I was 
forty-one years old to get married, and that was it for me. I 
was only going to be married once." 

Teresa was a woman who bolstered his confidence, 
gave him her constant approval, delighted him in bed, and 
demanded nothing of him. Nick Callas had no hint that 
Teresa had built a maze of complicated plans for them. He 
never saw a bad side of her, and she was always smiling 
and bubbly when they were together. Almost any man who 
fantasizes about being unfaithful to his wife would proba- 
bly gravitate toward someone like Teresa. 

No nagging. No strings. No problems. 

Callas had no biological children, but he loved his ad- 
opted son Jack — who was bom in October 1991, as if he 
was the child of his own loins. 



Teresa secretly believed that if she gave Nick a child with 
his own genes, his own Greek heritage, he would be so 
happy and grateful that he would leave his wife and marry 
her. Since Teresa had insisted on a hysterectomy after 
Morgan's birth, that was going to be tricky. Now, she truly 
could not conceive, but she had already planned for that. 

39 



ANN RULE 

Teresa had visited her gynecologist on May 10, 1995. 
She wanted to know exactly how in vitro fertilization 
worked. She knew she still produced eggs, and she told 
her doctor that "an old friend" who lived in Hawaii had 
agreed to furnish sperm. 

"How often do you see this man?" the female surgeon 
asked. 

"Every two weeks." It was, of course, a lie. 

"Have you discussed in vitro with him?" 

"Yes — and he's very supportive of it." This, too, was a 
lie. Nick had no plans to have a baby with Teresa. Teresa 
believed that Nick and his wife had adopted Jack because 
of some fertility problem with Grace. But it wasn't Grace 
who couldn't conceive; it was Nick's problem. 

Although he had never confided in Teresa about it, he 
believed that he was incapable of fathering a child. He and 
Grace had tried for years to conceive, traveling to southern 
California to confer with top fertility specialists. They had 
first tried seven in vitro procedures, mixing Grace's eggs 
with Nick's sperm in a petri dish, hoping their doctor 
could implant viable embryos in Grace's uterus. 

But no pregnancies resulted. It had been expensive, but 
the emotional pain was the worst part of that. Again and 
again, Grace failed to become pregnant. 

They hadn't given up, but they tried another way. Al- 
though they worked with medical experts, Nick called it 
the "turkey baster method." Over five years, they tried 
seven times. In two instances his sperm was injected in 
two different extremely fertile surrogate mothers, who had 
each become pregnant in their own marriages on the first 
try. Both of the female subjects were prepared to carry a 

40 



BUT I TRUSTED YOU 

resultant embryo to term. They were disappointed when 
neither potential surrogate mother became pregnant. 

Nick Callas, as masculine as he looked, had a very low 
sperm count. They didn't know why. His doctors eventu- 
ally diagnosed him as having too many clusters of veins 
and arteries in his testicles for sperm to survive long. They 
offered him surgery to remove them, but gave him no 
promises of success. He opted not to have the operation. 

Whether Teresa was aware of this is questionable. Had 
Nick told her he could not father a child? Nick would in- 
sist later that they had never discussed having a child to- 
gether. There was no reason to share his most intimate 
physical problems with her. 

But Teresa believed what she believed, and she was 
given to "magical thinking" where everything would turn 
out as she visualized it. She rapidly erased any truth that 
interfered with her plans. 

Teresa lied once more to her doctor, saying that she had 
a close female friend who would offer her a "surrogate 
womb" to carry her own fertilized egg to term. 

In Teresa's mind, the baby would be hers and Nick Cal- 
las 's child, just as much as if conception had taken place 
the old-fashioned way. And biologically that would be 
true. 

Teresa had studied up on all kinds of infertility, and 
state-of-the-art insemination procedures. The "friend" 
who had volunteered to carry her baby was probably 
another exaggeration. If she moved to Hawaii, Teresa 
planned to find a surrogate mother and pay her to carry 
a baby after in vitro fertilization with Nick's sperm. If 
Teresa's eggs were no longer usable for some reason, she 

41 



ANN RULE 

realized she might have to forgo her genetic participa- 
tion. Whatever it took, she would see that Nick had a 
child who was partly his own, and then he would marry 
her and they would raise that child — and Morgan, and, 
hopefully, Nick's son — together. 

Her plan sounded more like an extremely complicated 
science project than a baby bom out of love. And, short of 
a miracle, it was doomed from the beginning. 

Her doctor warned Teresa of legal pitfalls. She cited 
cases she had read about where the surrogates refused to 
give up the babies after they were born. "That can be a 
sticky situation," she said, advising her that she should 
consult with an attorney before she began such a process. 

"And it would help any case that came up against you if 
you were married to the baby's biological father," she 
added. 

Teresa's gynecologist knew very little about her current 
marital status. She gave her the names of some fertility 
specialists, explaining that she didn't have the additional 
training needed to harvest and implant eggs. 

Teresa was jubilant when she left her office, heedless of 
all the warnings she'd been given. She knew her plans 
weren't going to be easy to carry off, but she was sure she 
could do it. Of course, it was all pie in the sky. 

There was the problem of Chuck. Teresa expected him 
to dig in his heels and refuse to let her take Morgan to Ha- 
waii to live. There was no question about it, and she at 
least accepted that. 

Although Chuck had felt a weight lift from his shoul- 
ders when Teresa moved out, he missed living ftiU-time 
with Morgan. Having her with him every other week just 

42 



BUT I TRUSTED YOU 

wasn't the same as being her dad every day. When Teresa 
occasionally mentioned that she intended to live in Ha- 
waii, Chuck worried. 

He would die before he would let Teresa take his little 
girl so far away. He may even have used that phrase when 
she brought up the subject. 

Outwardly, Chuck Leonard wasn't a serious man. He 
had an active social life, and he was still dating Michelle. 
Michelle was probably the perfect woman for him. She 
wasn't the jealous type, and she believed that he was faith- 
fill to her, but she hadn't asked for that. She lived with 
Chuck during the weeks that Morgan wasn't staying there, 
and she worried about his getting home safe at night. They 
had a great time together, and she was easygoing and de- 
voted to him. 

Chuck didn't miss Teresa, but he was deadly serious 
about Morgan. He loved her with all the devotion in his 
body. He was fifty-two and not likely to have more chil- 
dren. Morgan meant the whole world to him, and he 
looked forward to the weeks when his daughter lived with 
him. 

On the other hand, Teresa often left Morgan with near- 
strangers as babysitters. She made fi-iends with a man 
named Bill Pursley* who lived in the same apartment 
building she did and often asked him to look after Mor- 
gan. Chuck's friends, Sandy and Jan — who had once 
warned Chuck that he'd made a terrible mistake marrying 
Teresa — regularly looked after Morgan when Teresa was 
away or busy. 

And she often was. Teresa loved Morgan, but she 
needed time for herself, too. 

43 



ANN RULE 

How was Teresa going to coordinate a medically pre- 
carious pregnancy with her lover, a nonacrimonious di- 
vorce from her husband, and her lover's divorce from his 
wife, and be sure all the pieces dovetailed? It was essential 
that nobody became angry enough to block her plans. She 
walked on eggshells, testing all the men in her life and 
balancing them like a juggler with more and more plates 
in the air. 

Teresa believed, albeit erroneously, that Chuck's girl- 
friend was a recent high school graduate and that he was 
acting unethically. That would give Teresa another weapon 
to use against him. Actually, Michelle was a few years 
older than Teresa. 

Teresa still had her consignment store. Chuck never 
shorted her on child support and he paid for so many other 
things that Morgan needed. Nick Callas was always will- 
ing to buy her tickets to Hawaii for a liaison with him. She 
was convinced he loved her or, at the very least, found her 
too sensuous and desirable to walk away from. 

If Teresa wrote down her goals, they would have read 
like this: 

1 . Gain full legal custody of Morgan. 

2. Finalize divorce from Chuck. 

3. Move to Hawaii. 

4. Have a child with Nick, one way or the other. 

5. Convince him to leave his wife. 

6. Marry Nick and live happily ever after. 

Goals four and five could happen in any order as far as 
Teresa was concerned. Nick Callas was probably the big- 

44 



BUT I TRUSTED YOU 

gest challenge she'd ever faced. He was quite content with 
his life, even though he was also devoted to Teresa. Sexu- 
ally, she probably was the most enchanting woman he 
knew. But Nick was fifty, and he had come to realize that 
sex wasn't the most important thing in the world. He got 
along well enough with his wife. And if he weighed a love 
affair against how much it would cost him to get a divorce, 
his bank account would come first. He had spent years 
building up a fortune and a marriage, and if he divorced 
his wife, at least half of that would be gone. More than 
that, he would probably lose custody of Jack. Ironically, 
like Chuck, Nick didn't want to do anything that would 
take his son out of his life. He and Grace had raised the 
little boy from birth, carrying him straight from the hospi- 
tal to their home, and he was a wonderful little boy. 

Nick fully expected to maintain both his marriage and 
his affair with Teresa. And as much as Nick loved Teresa, 
he knew she wasn't the average woman. Not at all. "Tere- 
sa's probably ninety percent an angel, and ten percent 
crazy," he once said. 

He may have overestimated the angel percentage. 



Thwarted, Teresa had to regroup, although she still be- 
lieved that when she actually presented Nick with his own 
baby, he would change his mind. 

And so she stalled, living in her apartment with Morgan, 
operating her little shop, and waiting to follow through on 
her divorce from Chuck. All things being equal, and if 
Chuck didn't fight too hard for custody of Morgan, a di- 
vorce in Washington State took only three months. 

45 



ANN RULE 

But Teresa dragged her feet on her divorce too long. In 
January 1996, the Snohomish County Superior Court in- 
formed both Teresa and Chuck that the court was dismiss- 
ing their divorce case because there had been no action on 
it for a year. 

The Leonards' relationship was in limbo. Neither of 
them wanted to reunite, but Chuck didn't seem to be 
upset that they had to refile if they wanted to be legally 
and finally separated forever. He would wait Teresa out if 
he had to. 

They were deeply in debt, although Teresa always 
maintained that Chuck was well off and should have paid 
her more in child support. As it was, he was paying her all 
he could afford. 

It was a paradox, but, with the insurance he carried and 
his other assets. Chuck Leonard was worth more dead 
than alive. In the financial statements he presented in their 
initial divorce action, they were more than $46,000 in 
debt. Teresa cleared only $300 a month from her shop. 
That baffled Chuck; she had told him she had a business 
degree, and he thought she should have made more than 
that. He offered her $334 a month for Morgan, while she 
said he could easily pay her $825. In essence, with all the 
extras he paid for his daughter, he was paying her more 
than $800. 

Teresa didn't reveal that Nick Callas was sending her 
more than $1,000 a month. He told people that she worked 
as a travel agent, and she sometimes sent people to him to 
rent condos; at least he would later say that that was why 
he wrote checks on the accounts of his various condo 
rental properties to her. His wife knew nothing about this. 

46 



I 

1 



BUT I TRUSTED YOU 

In a will drawn up in 1991, a will still in force, Chuck 
had stipulated that Teresa would get everything he had, 
both separate property (which he owned before they mar- 
ried) and community property (that had accumulated dur- 
ing their marriage). And that added up to a considerable 
amount. By 1996, Chuck's estate was substantial. He had 
$95,000 in insurance, $95,000 in retirement benefits from 
the Everett School District, the $240,000 house on Lake 
Goodwin, his final payroll from North Middle School of 
over $ 1 1 ,000, and various properties he had inherited near 
Bremerton and Camano Island worth over $120,000. On 
top of that, Teresa and Morgan would receive Social Secu- 
rity payments. Even when his final debts were paid, Teresa 
stood to receive well over $300,000 as his sole heir, plus 
Social Security payments every month until Morgan was 
eighteen. 

A year passed. Chuck was happy with Michelle Conley. 
She had her own place, but she was at Chuck's lake house 
more than she was home, an arrangement that she and 
Chuck attempted to keep secret. His best fi-iends knew 
about Michelle, but most other people didn't. 

And Teresa was happy in her relationship with Nick 
Callas, although she was planning feverishly to accelerate 
that into much more. 

In January 1997, Chuck filed papers to keep his divorce 
in progress, knowing that that would probably confuse her. 
She wouldn't be able to take Morgan far away until it was 
all settled. He was ready to finalize the divorce, but he had 
no intention of letting her take Morgan to Hawaii. 

Oddly, or perhaps not, Teresa was furious when she re- 
alized that she no longer had the chilling control over 

47 



ANN RULE 

Chuck that she'd maintained since the night she met him. 
No other woman in his life had ever been able to bend him 
to her will. 

''The cat was going to lose her mouse," Aunt Theresa 
said flatly. "She was very jealous of Chuck's connection to 
Morgan." 

It had taken Chuck a long time to move forward on his 
divorce. He'd asked for advice from friends before he 
made his final decision. Should he let Teresa back in — ^but 
only if she agreed to counseling — for Morgan's sake? 

None of them thought it was a good idea. 

Teresa finally realized that Chuck was prepared to fight 
her fiercely if she attempted to take Morgan to Hawaii to 
live, even if she agreed to let Morgan spend the summers 
and vacations with him. 

They were at an impasse. 

Teresa and Morgan were close, and Morgan thought her 
mother was perfect. Moreover, she believed everything 
Teresa told her. Most five-year-olds accept their mother's 
word without doubt. Teresa told Morgan that her daddy 
didn't really own the house on Lake Goodwin. It really 
belonged to her grandmother — Teresa's mother, who had 
passed away, leaving it to Teresa. She said Gloria Jones 
had been an antiques dealer. 

Teresa planted ideas about Chuck in Morgan's mind, 
telling her if she was ever afraid when she was with her 
daddy, she could call her mommy or "Aunt Joyce." 

Teresa told Joyce Lilly she was worried that Chuck was 
sexually abusing their daughter, and Joyce was convinced 
it was true. The two women gave Morgan teddy bears with 
secret pockets where they had hidden their phone numbers. 

48 



BUT I TRUSTED YOU 

Most of the time when Chuck called Teresa at her shop to 
facilitate Morgan's transfer, Teresa would burst into tears at 
the end of the conversation, making her salesgirls think that 
Chuck Leonard must be a bullying monster. 

Joyce was almost as gullible as Morgan, worrying about 
Teresa and her small daughter. The two young women who 
worked at The Consignment Shop were sympathetic, too. 
They noted that Morgan, who had once been jumping with 
excitement while she waited for her father, seemed to hold 
back. She cried and begged to stay with her mother, saying 
she didn't want to play with all the toys her daddy had for 
her. 

No one knew exactly what Teresa was telling her. 

Probably no one ever will. 



Chuck wondered what Teresa was up to. Looking at her, 
she didn't appear to be dangerous. Still, Chuck — who had 
come to recognize her lies — sometimes wondered what 
she was capable of. 

In November 1996, Chuck had wakened when Michelle 
nudged him. She whispered that she had heard a squeak 
on the stairs leading down to his bedroom. "I think some- 
one's in the house." 

He jumped out of bed and they heard the sound of 
someone running upstairs. Chuck leapt up the stairway to 
the living room. Soon, he came back, saying he hadn't 
caught up with whoever it was. 

Michelle dressed hurriedly and drove after a car she 
spotted driving toward the main road that led to the free- 
way. Its headlights were out. It appeared to have come 

49 



ANN RULE 

from a darkened area full of trees that abutted the state 
park at the end of Chuck's street. As the car passed under a 
streetlight, she saw the license plate. But the vehicle was 
soon in the shadows again, and she couldn't see the driver 
clearly. She was positive about the license plate, however. 
Then the car pulled away and picked up speed before she 
could catch up with it. She gave up and called Chuck, giv- 
ing him the license plate number. 

It was the license number of Teresa's Nissan. 

Chuck thought it might have happened again in January 
1997. This time, his eyes snapped open with the sense that 
they were not alone. Half-asleep, he looked past Michelle 
who lay beside him in bed and thought he saw a dark fig- 
ure in his ground-floor bedroom. He blinked and the figure 
was gone. 

There was no particular sound of an intruder; it was 
more a feeling. But Michelle slept quietly, and the fear 
he'd felt slowly went away. He figured he must have had a 
bad dream — the ftigue state of the nightmare that was al- 
ready giving way to reality. They had both been jumpy, but 
not enough for Chuck to lock his doors before heading for 
bed. He never locked the cat doors because his five cats 
needed to get in the house if it rained, or if predators like 
raccoons, coyotes, or an occasional cougar stalked them. 
He wanted Bear, Chaucer, Zena-the-Warrior-Princess, 
Tab, and Jezabel to be safe and to come and go as they 
pleased during the nighi:. A very small person could wrig- 
gle through the swinging cat entrances. 

"Chuck loved his cats," his sister recalled. 

Usually, Chuck liked the clear window in the floor over 
his waterbed, and the comments it elicited from visitors. It 

50 



BUT I TRUSTED YOU 

had once been a circular stairway, but he changed that 
when he remodeled the house, making it more like a ship's 
ladder than stairs, with a removable see-through hatch 
cover. 

On this chilly night, he shivered at the thought that 
someone could have been up ^ere in the dark, watching 
Michelle and him sleep. Maybe someone had been — 
maybe it was only a nightmare that had evolved from the 
incident in November. If someone had really been there, 
the trespasser had left the house on Lake Goodwin with- 
out causing any harm or stealing any of Chuck Leonard's 
possessions. Michelle believed it was Teresa. 

Chuck told one of his good teacher friends about his 
"nightmare," and they tried to rationalize it in the light of 
day. Finally, they assumed it had been an imaginary 
thing — a night terror. Chuck had been under a lot of stress 
recently, and that could account for his feeling that some- 
one was hiding in his house, watching him. 

If only it had been. 



51 



Chapter Three 



Deputy Wyiin Holdal of the Snohomish County 
Sheriff's Office was at the Lake Goodwin Fire Station at a 
quarter to one .in the afternoon of February 20, 1997, when 
he heard the emergency medical technicians get a call of 
"Man down" at an address on Forty-second Drive. He pre- 
pared to follow the fire fighters to the address when more 
bells sounded and the station radio blared. 

"Man down is DOA — dead on arrival." 

This time, Holdal was dispatched to the scene by the 
sheriff's radio. He arrived by 1 :00 p.m. and met with Fire 
Chief Darryl Neuhoff and Assistant Chief Robert Spencer. 
They had already strung yellow tape around the carport 
area of the three-story house; the rest of the yard was 
fenced off. 

It was very cold out, the morning's frost barely burned 
off by a vapid sun. 

Holdal could see the dead man, lying half-naked par- 
tially on his back and slightly on his right side on the top 
step inside the front gate. Oddly, his right arm lay so close 
to a chain saw that it seemed to cradle it. 

A man about forty stood nearby. He was fighting with 

53 



ANN RULE 

his emotions, but did his best to tell Holdal what he knew. 
He gave his name as Douglas Butler and identified the 
corpse as his friend. Chuck Leonard. 

"We both work at North Middle School," he said. 
"Chuck is — was — a counselor there and I teach shop and 
wrestling." 

Butler said that Chuck hadn't come to work at the 
school earlier in the day or called in to arrange for a sub- 
stitute. That wasn't at all like him, and both he and the 
principal were concerned. Chuck's estranged wife, Teresa 
Gaethe-Leonard, had called the school looking for him. 
That was a fairly rare event, too. 

"Our principal asked me to check on him," his fellow 
teacher said. 

Doug Butler said he'd gone to Chuck's lakeside house, 
walked down the sidewalk to the gate, and found it closed. 
"But I could see through it, and I saw Chuck on the steps. 
I opened the gate, and I knew he was dead, but I checked 
for a pulse an3rway. There wasn't any." 

Butler said that he and Chuck had been good friends 
for eighteen years, and he'd spent a lot of time at Chuck's 
house over the years. 

No wonder his face was pale and his voice strained. It 
would have been a horrible shock to find his friend lying 
on the cold cement in icy weather. Dead. 

Deputy Wynn Holdal asked Doug Butler the last time 
he had seen Chuck Leonard. 

"Yesterday — about four p.m." 

"He live with anyone?" 

"No, not usually. He lives alone — except when his little 
girl is here — she's just turned five. He has a girlfriend 

54 



BUT I TRUSTED YOU 

named Michelle who works for the Everett School Dis- 
trict. She sometimes stays over. And he's got an ex — or 
estranged — wife named Teresa. She never stays over." 

Butler explained that this would have been Chuck's 
week to have Morgan, but the child had to have some den- 
tal work done. Neither Teresa nor Chuck had been able to 
say no to her about eating candy or going to bed with sug- 
ary juice in her bottle when she was much younger, and 
she'd had dental problems as a result. On this day in Feb- 
ruary, Teresa had argued that she would do better staying 
with her mother after seeing the dentist, and Chuck had 
given in. 

"I hope she's not in there," Butler said nervously. He 
was afraid plans might have changed, and he worried that 
Morgan could possibly be inside the house, terrified, hid- 
ing someplace. Neither he nor Wynn Holdal wanted to 
think that she had suffered the same fate as her father. 

Sergeant Matt Bottin had been dispatched to the scene 
and arrived at a quarter after one. He walked up to Deputy 
Holdal, who was standing in front of the carport talking 
with the aid crew and another man — ^who he learned was 
Doug Butler. 

Bottin saw the body of Chuck Leonard lying on the top 
steps. He wore only a gray, bloodstained T-shirt. 

He asked Butler about that, and Leonard's long-time 
friend said that Chuck was in the habit of sleeping either 
completely naked or wearing just a T-shirt. 

"He just doesn't like underwear, and he sometimes an- 
swers the door nude when I've gone over to visit him in 
the morning. That's just him." 

Sergeant Bottin crossed the yellow tape and walked 

55 



ANN RULE ^ 

close to Chuck Leonard's body. The gate was ajar about 
two inches. He could see trauma in Leonard's chest area, 
just above his heart. 

"Was the gate like this when you got here?" Bottin 
asked Doug Butler, who shook his head. 

"I pushed it just that far open so I could see if I could 
help Chuck," he said. "But it was obvious that he was 
dead, so I backed off without disturbing anything, went to 
my car and phoned 911 on my cell phone." 

Bottin commented that it was odd that the dead coun- 
selor had his arm around the chain saw. Butler said that 
was his saw — that he had loaned it to Chuck a few days 
before. "It probably was sitting there when he collapsed. 

"I'm still concerned about Morgan," he said. "I know 
she's not in there, but what if she is . . ." 

To calm his fears, Bottin and Holdal slipped on rubber 
gloves and walked past the dead man. They entered the 
home through the front door, which stood open about six 
inches. The front door was on the east side of the lake 
house. 

"Deputy Holdal and I would do only a cursory search, 
and then turn the crime scene over to the homicide detec- 
tives, who had been notified. 

"There was a trail of blood from the deceased to the 
threshold of the door, and blood drops and smudges on the 
door itself. The blood trail continued into the house," Bot- 
tin recalled. "Down the hallway, across the living room to 
the stairs, which led down to Chuck's bedroom." 

Doug Butler had told them that Morgan Leonard's 
room was upstairs, the first door on the left. "It was 



56 



BUT I TRUSTED YOU 

closed," Bottin said "and I opened it from the back side of 
the door knob." 

Morgan's room was a lovely little-girl's room, full of 
dolls and toys, and it was completely undisturbed. Thank 
God, she wasn't anywhere in the house. 

Wynn Holdal searched the remainder of the upstairs, 
while Bottin walked through the kitchen. He noted some 
open wine bottles and two or three empty wine glasses, 
which were sitting on the kitchen counter. 

The kitchen didn't have a bloody trail. The two Sno- 
homish County officers resumed following the dried blood 
that led down the stairs to a bedroom, passing by a throw 
rug that was rumpled as if someone had slipped on it. 

Bottin spotted three bullet casings at the bottom of the 
stairs; they appeared to be for a .45 automatic. There were 
dried blood smudges on the wall beside the steps. 

But they realized they'd found the site of the shooting 
in the bedroom itself. A large water bed sat in the middle 
of the room, and the comforter on it was blood-soaked. A 
bullet hole was evident in the fabric. The pillows at the 
head of the bed were also stained red. Clearly, the victim 
had been attacked in his bed, possibly while he was sleep- 
ing. The water bed had been pierced; the floor beside it 
was covered with puddles of water. 

At the end of the bed, there was a sofa table with books 
and magazines on it, and there were blood splatters on top 
of these, too. A child's Pocahontas wigwam, a large white 
teddy bear, and children's books were also in the master 
bedroom. 

They glanced behind a bifold door and found a closet 



57 



ANN RULE 

inside. Another door led to a small office room. Neither 
closet area showed any signs of being disturbed. 

They touched nothing directly as they looked through 
the house, and they were vastly relieved that they hadn't 
found a five-year-old girl inside. 

"We turned around and left," Holdal said. "We still 
hadn't touched anything." 

For all intents and purposes, Chuck Leonard had prob- 
ably been near death from the moment he was shot, but he 
had managed to leap from his bed, run up the steep cap- 
tain's ladder stairs after his killer, and keep going until he 
had bled out in the cold loneliness of his front yard. Even 
if paramedics had been in his house when he was shot, he 
probably would not have survived. 

There were nine houses along the single-lane dirt road, 
but only seven were occupied in winter. The beach area 
was buzzing and alive in the summertime. And Wenberg 
State Park was just beyond a wooded area at the end of the 
street. Picnickers and campers filled the park then. 

The house just to the north of Chuck's three-story home 
was occupied year-round by a doctor, who was a good 
friend of the victim's. In fact, Dr. Les Staunton* let Chuck 
park his Porsche in his carport. Their homes were about 
twelve feet apart wall-to-wall, but their decks were only 
four feet apart. 

Bottin opened the door to the west wall of the carport 
and saw the walkway leading down to the doctor's home. 
He started down, but Butler stopped him. 

"I've already banged on the door, but no one an- 
swered." 

There was a good reason for that. Staunton had re- 

58 



BUT I TRUSTED YOU 

turned from a trip to Venezuela a day or so earlier, and 
he'd taken a sleeping pill the night before to try to get rid 
of his jet lag. He'd wakened early and left for his practice. 

When he was located at his clinic, he told the investi- 
gators that he'd gone to bed a little after midnight and 
fallen sound asleep, only to be wakened by something — 
something he couldn't identify. It might have been the 
motion-detector light on his porch or a strange noise. 

"It sounded like somebody with asthma," he said 
slowly, "a noise that sounded very foreign to me, but it 
wasn't an actual voice, [and] it wasn't a scream. It was just 
a wheezing noise, but it was loud enough for me to hear it 
from my bedroom — which is the opposite side from where 
ChuSc's house is." 

Staunton said he'd gotten up and sat on the edge of his 
bed for "thirty seconds," noticing that the motion-detector 
light on his porch was on. He listened, but he heard noth- 
ing more — ^no more screams or wheezes or whatever it 
had been. No sound of a car engine starting. It could have 
been anything — from an owl in the night to a cougar or 
even a raccoon fight. 

It was difficult for Staunton to set the time he'd been 
wakened, but he was sure it would have been about three 
to five hours after he'd taken the sleeping pill. He assumed 
it was about 5:00 a.m. 

He'd woken up again at 7:00 a.m. to the sound of cats 
fighting. He figured that was probably what he'd heard 
earlier. 

Shocked to hear that Chuck was dead, Dr. Staunton said 
he'd seen him only the night before at a restaurant called 
Buck's in downtown Everett. Chuck was there with some 



ANN RULE 

friends, a couple of men and a woman he didn't recognize. 
His neighbor had come over to invite him to join them, 
and he did — but when Chuck asked Dr. Staunton if he 
wanted to go to a nearby gambling casino, he'd declined, 
saying he was headed home to bed. 

No one else along the street who might have helped 
Chuck Leonard had heard anything during the night or in 
the chill hours of the morning. Maybe it wouldn't have 
niade any difference, but it was sad, nevertheless. 

Rigor mortis, the stiffening of a body's joints that be- 
gins shortly after death, was well established. His body 
temperature was very, very low when it was taken at the 
medical examiner's office. 

It was ironic that a man who had spent his whole life 
surrounded by friends should die all alone. Had someone 
been familiar with his habits — where he slept, who his 
neighbors were, who was away in the winter or had their 
windows tightly closed? 

It would take detectives from the Major Crimes Unit to 
figure that out. Detectives Brad Pince and Jim Scharf ar- 
rived, and Bottin walked them through the residence, re- 
tracing his original path exactly. 

They worked the crime scene meticulously, gathering, 
bagging, and labeling the .45 slugs and casings, taking 
samples for typing from the blood that marked the lake 
house with splashes and pools. The water bed where 
Chuck Leonard had been shot was punctured by either a 
bullet or a fi-agment, and it leaked water that mixed with 
his life's fluid. 

The stairway down to the master bedroom ran along the 
left side of the living room. The fatally injured victim 

60 



BUT I TRUSTED YOU 

must have run across the living room and slipped on a few 
area rugs, which were now askew. When Pince looked 
down at one, he saw a wedge of transparent material be- 
neath it. As he tugged it aside, he realized it was some 
kind of window in the floor — a window looking down to- 
ward Chuck's room. It wasn't directly over his water bed, 
but it was close enough. 

The dead man had designed his house carefully so that 
skylights in the ceiling of the lake house were positioned 
to capture light, which, in turn, focused on the window in 
the floor, sending more light to the bedroom below. The 
Plejf:iglas cover was open now, but could obviously be 
closed to keep someone from falling through. 

If someone had stealthily come into the house in the 
dark, and the moonlight was just right, he — or they — 
might have been able to watch Chuck and any female 
friend who might be staying over. 

It gave the detectives pause, a shivery feeling of privacy 
invaded. 

They received a phone call from Detective John Padilla 
in the Records division. He had left several messages on 
Teresa's cell phone during the day, and she finally called 
him back. She asked about Chuck's death. Padilla wasn't 
positive how she had learned of it, but Doug Butler and 
other teachers and administrators at North Middle School 
had known for hours that Chuck was dead— murdered. 
Word of his shocking demise had spread rapidly through 
the area. 

Padilla said Teresa had left the phone number and ad- 
dress of her best friend — Joyce Lilly — and said she would 
wait there for the detectives to contact her. 

61 



ANN RULE 

Pince and Scharf were very anxious to talk with Teresa 
Gaethe-Leonard, but it was ten thirty that evening before 
they had cleared the lake house. Detectives Joe Ward, Rob 
Palmer, and Gregg Rinta had done yeoman's work photo- 
graphing and sketching the layout of the house and the lo- 
cation of all physical evidence before it was bagged and 
labeled and put safely into the chain of evidence. 

Dr. Dan Selove, associate medical examiner for Sno- 
homish County had come to the scene, too. After Chuck 
Leonard's body was photographed and then removed for 
autopsy, deputies remained behind to guard the property 
to be sure that no one crossed the crime scene tapes. 

The Snohomish County investigators knew what had 
happened, but they didn't know who might have shot the 
popular school counselor or what their motivation might 
have been. 

Sergeant Al Zurlo of the Snohomish County Major 
Crimes Unit had been assigned to be the incident com- 
mander in the investigation of Chuck Leonard's death. At 
4:00 p.m. on Februaiy 20, he arrived on the scene and 
signed the crime scene log. He was gratified to see that 
procedure had been followed perfectly. The whole area 
was either blocked by barricades or encircled with yellow 
crime-scene tape. 

Zurlo gave out assignments; the investigation would 
operate on many fronts at the same time. 

Detective Brad Pince: lead team, coordinate tasks 
Detective John Padilla: lead team, interviews and 
background information 



62 



BUT I TRUSTED YOU 

Detective Jim Scharf: witness interviews and scene 
processing 

Detective Matt Trafford: neighborhood canvass, 
witness interviews 

Detective Haley: crime-scene sketching, processing 

Detective Stich: crime-scene sketching, processing 

Detective Gregg Rinta: body site, interior crime- 
scene processing 

Detective Rob Palmer: body site, interior crime- 
scene processing 

Detective Joe Ward: search warrant preparation, 
supervise interior crime-scene processing 

Deputy Stoops: exterior crime-scene security, crime- 
scene log 



North Middle School was afire with rumors, and Chuck's 
friends were appalled. When Detective Brad Pince phoned 
his father to tell him that his son was dead — murdered — 
Fred Leonard's voice was full of tears, although he and 
Chuck were often at odds. 

"Was he shot by some jealous husband or boyfriend?" 
he asked. "I've always been afraid that might happen." 

"I don't know," Pince said. "We're trying to find out.' 

No one knew at this point who the shooter was. 

The investigators knew that first day that Chuck's love life 
was problematical. Early in the afternoon, Deputy Wynn Hol- 
dal called the North Middle School to talk to Everett police 
officer Dan Boardley who worked security at the school. 
Boardley said he'd talked to the school's vice principal. 



63 



ANN RULE 

"He told me he spoke with Chuck last night about nine 
o'clock. Chuck told him he was with a 'skinny blonde' 
and they were going to Harrah's Club," not the one in Ne- 
vada, but a local gambling casino. 

Chuck was probably joking, but he'd sounded kind of 
"down." Boardley got the impression that the woman sit- 
ting with him was a casual acquaintance. 



From the very beginning there were many possible sus- 
pects and motives in the death of Charles Fred Leonard. 
He was a convivial man who was almost always in a good 
mood. But he was also a man who walked by himself and 
lived by his own rules, incurring envy in many men, jeal- 
ousy in others. He was witty and fiinny and great to be 
around. He wasn't legally divorced from Teresa Gaethe- 
Leonard when he died, but they had been separated for 
two years. 

He was said to be dating at least three attractive young 
women at the same time, and he had romanced more 
women in his lifetime than most men could dream of 

Still, if Chuck Leonard had many female friends, he 
also had lots of male friends who found him generous, a 
hard worker, a loyal friend, and a good neighbor. 

He was over fifty, but he looked much closer to forty, 
and he had the perfect house for a bachelor or divorce. The 
bottom floor of his home, which could only be entered 
from the outside, was where he made and stored wine. He 
was as knowledgeable about wine as a sommelier, and 
proud of his skill. 

The next two floors were stacked on top of that with 

64 



BUT I TRUSTED YOU 

the living room-great room almost at street level. Who- 
ever came and went couldn't be easily monitored by 
neighbors. 

Chuck loved kids, and he enjoyed his job. He had many 
friends and enough money to get by. His health was great. 
His biggest worry was that Teresa might take Morgan far 
away, but so far he'd been able to see his little girl often, 
and he figured his background would impress a judge 
more thaA Teresa's. He didn't even dislike Teresa; she was 
more an irritant than a threat. 

Everyone who mattered to Chuck liked him. 

At least so it had seemed until Thursday, February 20, 
1997. But someone had hated him enough to shoot him 
while he slept. 

Teresa planned Chuck's fiineral. She told Chuck's sis- 
ter, Theresa, that she was thinking of using some lines 
from Goethe in the eulogy she was writing; Theresa 
thought that was pretentious. She doubted that Teresa had 
anywhere near the education she claimed she had. 

Teresa wanted the service to be perfect, but when she 
arrived, few mourners approached her. Chuck's friends 
had never cared much for her, and rather than being the 
star of the event, Teresa was more a wallflower. Basically, 
no one acknowledged her, except Chuck's uncle. No one 
spoke to her. When she went into the family room at the 
funeral parlor, she appeared upset — and intoxicated; she 
1 reeked of alcohol. Teresa had maintained close ties with 
Chuck's father and stepmother; Caroline Leonard felt 
I sorry for her and patted the chair next to her. The elder 
Leonards asked Teresa to be in the reception line, but she 
didn't want to do that, despite her friend Joyce Lilly telling 

65 



ANN RULE 

her that she should. Teresa almost fainted, and Joyce took 
her back to the family room. 

Then they went to the cemetery. Bonnie, who had only 
worked for Teresa for two months at The Consignment 
Shop, walked up to her and Teresa hugged her for a long 
time. It seemed as though it was at least ten minutes. Bon- 
nie was surprised and somewhat embarrassed. She really 
didn't know Teresa well at all. It was as if her boss wanted 
to show people that she did have friends after all and they 
cared about her. 

A short time later, the funeral director approached 
Joyce and said, "I think Teresa needs to go." 

Teresa sat in Joyce's car, her head down. When they 
reached the main street, Teresa "just looked up and said, 
'Get me the fuck out of here.' " 



66 



Chapter Four 



Back on the night of Chuck's murder, detectives Brad 
Pince and Jim Scharf weren't sure what to expect at Joyce 
Lilly's house, but they found two rather nervous woman — 
Joyce more so than Teresa — and a pretty little girl, who 
was recovering from a visit to the dentist. Her face had 
puffed up and bruised after her treatment the day before. 
The two detectives were relieved that this time they didn't 
have to be the ones who broke the news to a widow. And it 
soon became obvious that Teresa had had very loose con- 
nections to Chuck; they were legally married, but that's 
about all. Apparently, they'd led separate lives for some 
time. Although she had called his school asking about 
where he was, she hadn't returned any calls from the Sher- 
iff's Office. 

When Detective John Padilla had notified Michelle 
Conley about Chuck's murder, he gleaned more informa- 
tion. "They fought like cats and dogs," Michelle said. She 
explained that the Leonards' separation was anything but 
friendly, and that Chuck only dealt with her because he 
cared so much about Morgan. 



67 



ANN RULE 

Teresa introduced the detectives to Joyce Lilly, com- 
menting that they were "best friends." 

Only five, Morgan Leonard hadn't been told that her 
father was dead. If she had ioiown at this point, she 
couldn't possibly have understood the enormity of her loss 
or begin to understand that the life she had known up until 
now had changed cataclysmically. The daddy who had 
loved her so much was never coming back. 

There was nothing particularly overt about either Tere- 
sa's or Joyce's actions that made the two Snohomish 
County detectives suspicious. Joyce excused herself and 
carried Morgan upstairs so that they could talk to Teresa 
alone. 

"We tentatively considered Teresa a suspect because of 
their acrimonious divorce, and we had talked to Michelle," 
Scharf explains. "We always tend to look initially at the 
people closest to the victim. We didn't know much about 
the Leonards' history that first night." 

Teresa didn't seem grief-stricken, but then she wasn't 
a widow in the -strictest sense of the word. She told the 
investigators that she had wanted a divorce for a long 
time, and that Chuck was the one who wanted to stay 
married. Her decision to delay a divorce was purely prag- 
matic. She explained that she wasn't a wealthy woman, 
and she had had to think about how she and Morgan 
could get by. 

"I've had open-heart surgery," she said, "and I need — j 
needed — Chuck's medical insurance, as I don't know what 
might happen with my health. I couldn't afford it on my] 
own." 



68 



BUT I TRUSTED YOU 

Chuck had been good about his child support pay- 
ments. He paid her $350 a month regularly. "I work, too, 
of course," she added. "I've had my consignment shop in 
Marysville for three years. Before that, I worked for the 
Bon Mar^e." 

Teresa's clothing resale business, combined with Mor- 
gan's child support money and a part-time job with a 
travel agency, gave them just about enough to pay rent on 
their small apartment on Everett Mall Way, and to buy 
groceries and other necessities of life. 

Detective John Padilla joined his fellow investigators at 
Joyce Lilly's house. The three detectives listened intently 
as Teresa told them what Chuck had been like. 

She said that she thought her estranged husband had 
lots of girlfriends, and that he lived the high life. 

"Do you know any of their names?" Pince asked. 

She shook her head. "No, I don't." 

She suggested that Chuck was careless about safety 
precautions, and that he didn't always lock his doors at 
night. "He wanted his cats to be able to come in and out. 
He liked cats." 

When she was asked about the last time she'd been to 
the lake house, Teresa was emphatic. "I haven't been there 
for two years — ^not since the day I left." 

Although Morgan spent alternate weeks with Chuck, 
Teresa said she never went into Chuck's house with her. 
Instead, they set up meetings somewhere else to facilitate 
the exchange. 

"What kind of father was Chuck?" Pince asked. 

"He was a good father," she said softly. 



ANN RULE 

Asked about life insurance, Teresa shook her head. She 
didn't believe Chuck had any. Nor did she seem to be 
aware that Morgan would be eligible for Chuck's Social 
Security survivor benefits now. 

"Are you dating anyone?" Pince asked. "Someone im- 
portant in your life? 

"No, there's no one," she said convincingly. 

Teresa painted her deceased and estranged husband as a 
complete playboy, who had any number of "big-boy toys." 

"He has a Cessna airplane at the Arlington Airport, and 
he keeps his Corvette there, too," she said. "He has a 
brown-and-cream-colored boat. Chuck spent his money 
on wine and cars." 

She also said that he was addicted to pornographic 
movies. She spoke quietly and seemed quite vulnerable. 
Except for his predilection for attractive women, her take 
on her estranged husband was far different from what 
they had heard so far from others who knew him. And yet 
it was difficult to ascertain what Teresa's true emotions 
were. That was perhaps understandable; Chuck's murder 
was too fresh. 

When Brad Pince asked Teresa how she had spent the 
previous day — February 1 9, a Wednesday — she could ac- 
count for almost every minute. She had taken Morgan to 
the dentist to have some cavities filled two days before and 
she was concerned that her daughter's face was swollen 
and bruised; she wanted the dentist to check Morgan's 
condition. Then they had run some errands and purchased j ^i 
some soft food that Morgan could eat. 

"By the time we got home, it must have been five thirty 



70 






BUT I TRUSTED YOU 

or six in the evening. Then Joyce came over, and she 
stayed and visited until nine or nine thirty. I didn't go out 
at all last nigkt. I went to bed about eleven, and I got up at 
nine this morning." 

It was midnight on a day that seemed to go on forever 
when Brad Pince and Jim Scharf left Joyce Lilly's home. 

They didn't know what to think. The murder investiga- 
tion had just begun, and it sounded as though there were 
many people they needed to talk to. Joyce Lilly had practi- 
cally quivered with anxiety during their visit to her home, 
while Teresa seemed to be in control. They didn't view the 
two women's behavior as indicative of innocence or guilt. 
They had done enough felony investigations to know that 
people in shock and suffering loss react in all different 
ways. 

Teresa Gaethe- Leonard was a slender, very attractive 
blonde. She appeared to have a core of strength in her. 
That was fortunate, the detectives thought. She was really 
on her own now; she would have to raise Morgan all alone, 
as best she could. It was easy to feel sorry for her, but ho- 
micide detectives always look at the nether side of human 
behavior; they have learned to observe with jaundiced 
eyes. Teresa was almost too calm in the face of searing 
tragedy. 

Maybe the enormity of it hadn't hit her yet. 

And then again, Brad Pince and Jim Scharf didn't know 
yet that Teresa was far from alone. She had lied to them 
when she said she had no boyfriend. She hadn't mentioned 
Nick Callas, her rich lover in Lahaina, Hawaii. 

Only one thing struck them as strange. Near the end of 



71 



ANN RULE 

their conversation with her, it occurred to Brad Pince that 
Teresa hadn't once asked how Chuck had died. 

Odd. 

"Do you know what happened to Chuck?" Pince asked 
her. 

"I was told that he died," she said faintly. "But I don 
know how or any of the details. From the questions that 
you've asked me, I can guess at some of those details.' 



•.I 



The next forty-eight hours passed in a blur for both the 
Snohomish County investigators and Chuck Leonard's 
friends and family. His fatal shooting made the top of 
television news broadcasts and headlines in Seattle and 
Everett newspapers. Although it happens more often than 
most people would like to think, schoolteachers and coun- 
selors do become involved in scandals and violent-death 
investigations, just as some doctors, ministers, politicians, 
and people in every other demographic do. 

But the public is still shocked and, yes, intrigued. There 
is something about the dichotomy between a victim's pub- 
lic image and a shocking crime that fascinates those not 
directly affected. 

But those who knew Chuck Leonard grieved, including 
many teenagers he had helped through the problems of 
adolescence. 

Morgan had yet to realize her daddy was gone forever. 

Snohomish County detectives and deputies canvassed 
the neighborhood on the lake where Chuck had lived, al- 
though they found little information that helped. One 
neighbor woman said she had stayed up long after her 

72 



her 



BUT I TRUSTED YOU 

husband went to bed. She had heard what she thought was 
a scream. If she had, it had nothing to do with Chuck 
Leonard. IjSe hadn't been home near midnight when she'd 
heard that strange sound. 

The only likely "ear witness" was Dr. Staunton, Chuck's 
chiropractor friend who lived next door. There seemed to 
be no eyewitnesses at all. 

Brad Pince talked to Theresa Leonard, who had deep 
suspicions about who had killed her brother. She didn't 
want to know what her gut was telling her. She told Pince 
that she thought Teresa was crazy and left it at that. 

"I knew," she said years later. "I just knew Teresa had 
done it. I did tell our parents that, but it was hard for them 
to accept." 

"You really think she could have done it?" Pince asked. 

"I don't know. . . . She's weird — that's all I can tell you 
for sure." 

Initially, Teresa made attempts to bond more closely 
with Chuck's family. She wanted them to get together and 
go to the cemetery with Morgan four days after the mur- 
der. His father had just had shoulder surgery and wasn't up 
to going. A week later, Teresa and her father-in-law and 
Chuck's stepmother had lunch together. When Theresa 
showed up, too, the new widow was taken off guard; 
Chuck's sister hadn't been invited. 

For the first time Caroline Leonard, Theresa's stepmother, 
understood her suspicions about Teresa. She watched, 
shocked, at the way Teresa glared at "Aunt Theresa." 

Later, she said, "Boy! She really hates you!" 

Theresa tried to see Morgan and asked if she could take 
her for a visit for a while. 

73 



ANN RULE 

"No!" Teresa said. "She can't." 

A few days later, there was a memorial for Chuck orga- 
nized by his school, and hundreds of people came, includ- 
ing many former students who eulogized him for making 
their lives better and for being there when they needed a 
friend and counselor. 

This could have been something that Morgan would 
remember her whole life, that would make her proud of 
her father. But Teresa refused to let her attend, telling her 
that children weren't allowed. That wasn't true: other 
people's children and teenagers attended the memorial 
service. When it became too crowded inside, they stood 
outside, listening as Chuck was praised for his devotion 
to children. 

Many had tears running down their cheeks. 



Joyce Lilly worried incessantly about what would be- 
come of Morgan, whom she loved dearly. But Joyce had 
worries of her own. She considered Teresa Leonard her 
best friend and believed sincerely that their devotion 
went both ways. Joyce was divorced, Teresa had been 
separated for two years, and as two women alone, they 
shared many things in common. 

The investigators learned that Teresa was not only 
popular with men; there were some women who liked her, 
too. Those who worked for her at her consignment shop 
adored her. 

Then again, there were females who detested her and 
said so. But not her close friends or her staff. 



74 



BUT I TRUSTED YOU 

"She's just*the sweetest little thing," one salesclerk told 
reporters — asking that her name not be revealed. "She's 
just a nice girl." 

Joyce felt the same way, although she had seen glimpses 
of another side of Teresa that sometimes disturbed her. Te- 
resa was far more confident than she was, and the life she 
lived sometimes gave Joyce pause. 

Now, Joyce had a problem that she didn't think she 
could discuss with anyone. Usually, she talked things over 
with Teresa — but that was clearly impossible: Teresa was 
the problem. Teresa had used Joyce as a sounding board, a 
patient and supportive friend. She always seemed to be 
embroiled in one messy incident or another. But Joyce 
didn't want to get involved in them any longer, although 
she feared she might already be, and that scared her. 

Up until the night of February 19, listening to Teresa's 
problems had been akin to watching a suspense movie. 
Joyce had listened, fascinated, and then become a part of 
Teresa's secret life when they traveled several times to Ha- 
waii so her best friend could have a rendezvous with Nick 
Callas. 

Teresa's life wasn't intriguing now. It was fraught with 
danger and the possibility that she would have to pay the 
piper for always taking what she wanted. 



75 



Chapter Five 



Teresa might have had good reasons for wanting to 
escape Louisiana and her early years. According to her 
older sister Lois, she, Teresa, and their younger sister lived 
a "life of fear." 

"Our family looked just like the typical family," the 
special-education teacher confided. "Everything looked 
good on the outside." 

No one can see what goes on behind closed doors, and 
the Joneses — mother and three daughters— were afraid of 
their husband and father, a steamship captain. Their older 
brother had seemingly escaped unscathed, leaving home 
as soon as he could get away. The sisters were grateful 
when their father was gone, but he always came home, and 
he apparently wielded power over all of them. 

Lois said her father had abused her sexually and that 
she had tried her best to protect her mother from spousal 
abuse and her younger sisters from going through what 
she had. There was a terrible night when she heard her 
mother crying hysterically. She forced her way into their 
bedroom and found Ervin Jones choking his wife. She 
stood up to him and probably saved her mother. 

77 



ANN RULE 

None of the females in their family talked about what 
was happening, not even to each other. They were in deep 
denial. "It was really tense in our home. It was very tense. 
You didn't talk about [such] things. No one knew." 

They did their best, according to Lois, to stay out of 
their brutal father's way, tiptoeing around, hoping he 
wouldn't notice them. 

But secret things went on. Lois and Teresa's baby sister, 
Macie, often slipped into her room late at night to crawl in 
bed with Lois. 

"She would be crying." 

But none of the girls told each other what was happen- 
ing to them, so the dark secrets continued. Although Lois 
may have suspected that Teresa was being molested, too, 
she was never convinced until the summer of 1997, long 
after Teresa had left Chuck. The three sisters, adults now, 
had sought out a therapist and Lois said Teresa had finally 
confessed that their father had sexually abused her. 

When she talked about their childhood, Lois cried, her 
mind going back to a time when they were all helpless to 
do anything about their situation and their mother was too 
frightened and weak to protect them. 

If her memories were true, that might explain why Te- 
resa hated some men, distrusted others, and continually 
tried to better her situation by seeking out men she thought 
had a lot of money. If Lois was embroidering the truth, she 
might only be the protective big sister who had always 
done whatever she could to shelter her younger siblings 
from stress and unhappiness. 

But, of course, she couldn't do that. In any murder 



78 



BUT I TRUSTED YOU 

probe, detectives look first at those closest to the victim or 
victims. Despite their digging, they had found no one who 
had a grudge against Chuck Leonard — no one but Teresa, 
his estranged wife. 

Still, the two detectives found it difficult to believe that 
a small woman would go so far as to sneak into a house 
she hadn't entered in two years, creep through the dark, 
and have the nerve to fire into the sleeping man who was 
at least twice as strong as she was. Afi:er all. Chuck could 
have been awake; she no longer kept track of his habits. 

And they had parented a child together, a little girl who 
loved both of them. If Teresa loved Morgan as much as her 
sisters and friends said she did, how could she even think 
of taking her father away from her? 

Teresa's plans didn't make a lot of sense; she was basing 
her future on an almost impossible scenario. Everythmg — 
even things that seemed impossible — would have to fall 
precisely into place for a surrogate to carry Nick's natural 
child, and for him to leave his wealthy wife and the boy he 
had adopted, a boy he loved. 

Infamous female criminals like Susan Smith, Casey 
Anthony, and Diane Downs have devised similar schemes, 
building castles in the sky out of diaphanous threads 
hooked to weak foundations. They all murdered their own 
children, sacrificing them to get what they wanted, to find 
perfect love. And there have been scores more women 
without conscience who have killed people who trusted 
them to achieve what they think will make them happy. 

Joyce Lilly had heard Teresa's stories about how cruel 
Chuck was to her. She said that he hadn't been happy at all 



79 



ANN RULE 

when she became pregnant. She said he even suggested 
that she get an abortion because he "didn't need Httle 
monsters running around." 

Later, detectives who talked with Joyce sometimes 
wondered if she had been present when Chuck allegedly 
was mean to Teresa, or if she was going by what Teresa 
had told her. He was a natural flirt — he always had been, 
and some of Teresa's friends thought he was coming on to 
them. Teresa agreed with them that he probably was. That 
only deepened their suspicion that poor Teresa was living 
a life of terror and abuse. Whether she told them about her 
childhood abuse isn't clear, but her staunch supporters 
gathered around her as sheriff's detectives asked more and 
more probing questions. 

Rick Lilly,* Joyce's ex-husband, called her at 9:30 a.m. 
on February 20, a few hours after Chuck's body was found 
but before his death had been reported on the news. Joyce 
was moving to a smaller place, and Rick had agreed to 
buy some of her fiimiture. 

Rick had never approved of Joyce's tight friendship 
with Teresa. He didn't trust Teresa, and thought she was 
too controlling with Joyce. But he hadn't yet heard that 
Chuck Leonard was dead, so when Joyce's answering ma- 
chine picked up the call, he left a brief message asking her 
to call him back. 

She didn't return his call until about four in the after- 
noon, saying she had slept in because she had been up 
until three in the morning. "There were some police offi- 
cers here," she said in a worried voice. 

"What are police officers doing at your house?" Rick 
asked incredulously. 



BUT I TRUSTED YOU 

She explained that Teresa's husband had been shot to 
death, and that the detectives were asking Teresa ques- 
tions. 'T was mostly upstairs with Morgan, playing games 
and coloring and — " 

"Why was Teresa at your house?" he asked next. 

"She doesn't have anyone else but me," Joyce said. 
"I'm the only friend she has, and she's going through a ter- 
rible time right now. I'm helping her with whatever I can." 

Rick listened, shaking his head. Joyce was such a patsy, 
always acting without thinking, and now she might have 
herself in a hell of a mess. Joyce went on talking, and he 
listened, trying to come up with a way she could detach 
herself from her good friend, Teresa. 

Joyce was trying to do that herself; she wasn't answer- 
ing or returning calls or pages from either Teresa or Nick 
Callas. 

Rick called her back the next morning. He had thought 
about Chuck Leonard's murder overnight, and he asked 
his ex-wife point-blank: "Joyce, do you think that Teresa 
might be 'dirty'?" 

"What do you mean by 'dirty'?" 

"You know what I mean. Do you think that she did it?" 

"You don't know Teresa the way I know her," Joyce lied 
frantically. "She couldn't do anything like this." 

"Well, okay, but keep clear of her — ^this thing doesn't 
have a good smell to it." 

Joyce wanted to tell her ex-husband that Teresa had told 
her she was the one who had shot Chuck, and that she 
hadn't shown any grief or remorse over it. Now she didn't 
know what she should do. But she was afraid. She was 
more afraid after hearing his questions. 

81 



ANN RULE 

Rick Lilly dropped by to see her a few days later. He 
was taunting her, making up a story — but he was very 
close to the truth. "They've arrested your pal," he said. 
"She's in the jailhouse now." 

"No, they haven't," Joyce said. "They didn't arrest her. 
Don't say that." 

"Don't you listen to the radio?" he asked, taunting her 
still more as Joyce kept protesting. Rick wasn't looking at 
her, but when he turned around, he saw that she had burst 
into tears, and he apologized. 

"I'm just kidding you, Joyce," Rick said. "I was only 
joking. Teresa didn't get arrested." 

Joyce was close to hysteria, sobbing as she gasped, 
"She killed him, she killed him, oh, why would she tell 
m.e? Why? You don't know the story like I do." 

And now as she poured out her worries to Rick, he was 
the one who had a hard time believing her. She told Rick 
that Teresa had described shooting Chuck three times in 
the chest. She made him promise not to teil anyone — it 
would ruin Morgan's life. Joyce couldn't bear for her to be 
hurt anymore. 

Joyce said that she'd moved a white bag that Teresa 
gave her only hours after Chuck's murder from her car 
trunk into her garage, hiding it behind some boxes. A few 
days later as she was cleaning the garage, she reached up 
to move the bag and it hit a pier support. She heard a dull 
"clunk."' 

Trembling, she'd untied the top of the bag and looked 
in. There was a heavy handgun inside, and some of Tere- 
sa's clothes, stiff with dried blood. 



82 



BUT I TRUSTED YOU 

"Where's the bag now?" Rick asked, still doubting 
Joyce. 

"I hid it. I don't want to hurt my best friend, but I'm 
frightened to death. I could go to jail, myself," Joyce cried. 
"But I had nothing to do with Chuck Leonard's murder. I 
don't know what to do. Teresa's been calling me every 
hour, but I don't answer." 

Joyce's ex-husband looked at her incredulously as she 
detailed for him what had her so jittery. Tears leaked from 
her eyes as she spoke, and her hands shook. She hadn't 
been able to sleep more than a few hours at night. 

Rick shook his head in disbelief: how could she have 
been so dumb? Every day that had gone by while she hid 
evidence for her precious Teresa, she had been risking her 
own reputation, not to mention her freedom. He told Joyce 
that she could very well go to jail for hiding evidence, and 
for being an "accessory after the fact." 

He wasn't very sympathetic, but he gave her good 
advice. "You're a fool if you don't call a lawyer right now 
and tell the police everything you know. I'll go with 
you." 

They had some difficulty finding an attorney who prac- 
ticed criminal law. Rick's own attorneys said they did not, 
and they recommended George Cody. But when he called. 
Rick learned that Cody was already representing Teresa 
Leonard. 

Lilly's civil attorneys next suggested George Bowden. 
Bowden agreed to meet them. So it was that Friday eve- 
ning, February 28, eight days after Chuck Leonard's mur- 
der, Joyce and Rick walked into George Bowden 's Everett 



83 



ANN RULE 

office carrying a box of evidence — all the items Teresa 
had told Joyce to hide. 

Joyce poured out her story to Bowden, and he said he 
would represent her. The sheriff's Major Crimes Unit was 
closed this late on a Friday night, but Bowden promised 
her he would go to talk with detectives early Saturday 
morning. In the meantime, he would lock up the white 
plastic bag with the .45 -caliber handgun, Teresa's clothes 
and bloodied boots, and other items Teresa had given 
Joyce in his office. 

On Saturday, March 1, 1997, Brad Pince talked to a 
"very upset" Joyce Lilly. She turned over the bag of evi- 
dence. For homicide detectives, it was a bonanza, some- 
thing they never imagined they would find. More than the 
physical evidence, they had a witness who could tell them 
what had happened nine days earlier. While she hadn't 
actually been present when Chuck was shot, they had the 
next thing to it in Joyce Lilly. 

If she was about to tell them the truth, the deadly puz- 
zle would be solved. That was, of course, a big ''if." 

Aware now that he and Jim Scharf hadn't heard the 
whole truth on the evening after Chuck Leonard died, 
Pince asked Joyce Lilly if she had been honest with them. 
Tears rolling down her cheeks, she shook her head. She 
admitted that she'd known then who killed Chuck, but that 
she had lied for Teresa. As the days passed, Joyce Lilly 
said she couldn't sleep, and she was close to having a 
panic attack when she turned to her former husband for 
advice. Although they were no longer married, she trusted 
his opinion and she had to talk to someone. 

"One night back in November, a couple of months be- 

84 



BUT I TRUSTED YOU 

fore somebody shot Chuck," Joyce began "Teresa came by 
to leave Morgan with me to babysit. She was dressed 
strangely, wearing black sweatpants, a dark fuzzy jacket, 
and boots." 

"It was almost winter, wasn't it?" Scharf asked. "Why 
was it strange for her to dress like that?" 

"It wasn't Teresa's style — not at all," Joyce's words 
tumbled out. "She said 'How do you like my outfit?' " 

Joyce closed her eyes, remembering the incident. "I 
said, Tt doesn't look like you.' " 

"That's the point," Teresa had said succinctly. 

Joyce said she'd stared at Teresa, baffled. And then she 
was shocked when Teresa told her that she would have 
killed Chuck that night if she'd only had enough time. 

That didn't even seem possible, and she had finally de- 
cided that Teresa was engaging in some kind of black 
humor. 

"But she seemed serious, even though she didn't men- 
tion killing Chuck again. And then the holidays came and 
nothing happened, and Teresa's custody of Morgan — 
sharing with Chuck, you know — went on just like before. 
One week with Teresa, one week with Chuck — " 

Except for the week that included February 17-20, 
1997, when Morgan had her dental work done. 

On Wednesday, February 19, Teresa told Joyce some- 
thing unbelievable: "I'm going to whack Chuck tonight." 

Joyce had just stared at her friend, open-mouthed. Te- 
resa had that same icy look on her face that she'd had back 
in November when she'd showed up in her all-black outfit. 

While Joyce believed that Chuck had been abusive to 
Teresa and she felt sorry for her, that was no reason to kill 

85 



ANN RULE 

the man. That's what "whack" meant, she thought; she'd 
heard it on gangster television shows. 

But why? Teresa wasn't in danger anymore; she and 
Chuck didn't live together any longer. They were both in- 
volved with other, people, and, until last November, Teresa 
said she hadn't even been in Chuck's house at the lake for 
a couple of years. 

Joyce knew better than to try to talk Teresa out of any 
plans she made. And besides, she couldn't believe that 
Teresa would really kill Chuck. She often behaved 
dramatically — that was part of what made her an interest- 
ing friend. Being with Teresa was a little like being in the 
center of a soap opera. 

Telling herself it would be okay, Joyce Lilly was able to 
get to sleep on Wednesday night. But in the wee hours of 
February 20, her phone trilled and she woke up instantly, 
her heart thumping. It was Teresa, and she sounded very 
upset. She begged Joyce to come to her apartment. 

As she always did, Joyce said she'd be there as soon as 
she could. Teresa hung up before she could ask her any 
questions. It took her an hour to get dressed and arrive at 
Teresa's. When Joyce got there, Teresa was smoking and 
drinking scotch. "She was very shaken — almost quivering," 
Joyce said, "and Teresa's always in control — always." 

Teresa immediately handed her a white plastic bag that 
was tightly tied at the top. 

"I want you to put this in the trunk of your car," she 
said. 

"What's in it?" 

"Just do it, and I'll tell you when you come back in." 



86 



BUT I TRUSTED YOU 

"You did it?" Rick Lilly asked, disgust and alarm in his 
voice. "What happened then?" 

"I did it. Teresa said, 'I shot Chuck. Three times.' And I 
asked her 'What?' " Joyce said, sobbing. 

Teresa said she'd found Chuck alone, sound asleep in 
his bed. She had fired two or three times at him and hit 
him in the chest. 

"He got up out of bed and chased me," Teresa recalled, 
shivering. At one point. Chuck had gotten close enough to 
her at the top of the stairs to grab her by the ankle, but 
then his grip loosened. 

"At the top of the stairs, he gasped," Teresa said, "and 
then he made a noise and fell — " 

"What did you do?" Joyce asked. "Did he look at you? 
Did he look in your eyes?" 

"I ran," Teresa said. "Yes ... he looked in my eyes." 

Teresa told her good friend that she didn't know if 
Chuck was dead. She thought he was alive. "He's so 
strong," she breathed. "He's so strong . . ." 

She didn't seem to know just what time it was when she 
shot Chuck, but she was sure she was back in her apart- 
ment by five in the morning. 

Joyce Lilly didn't want to believe Teresa. Teresa was 
always fiill of drama and exaggeration. Surely this was 
another of her fantasies — like the night she dressed in her 
"camouflage" outfit. 

"Where did you get a gun?" Joyce had asked in a 
doubtful voice. 

"I bought it fi-om some guy in a bar," Teresa had said, with 
a hint of pride in her voice. "It was just like a TV thing." 



87 



ANN RULE 

Joyce Lilly drove home with the white plastic bag in 
the trunk of her car. Teresa had also given Joyce the key to 
Chuck's house, even though Joyce didn't want it. 

"Well, I can't have it, you need to take it," Teresa said 
imperiously. 

Joyce threw the key away by tossing it in a planter bar- 
rel at a Jack in the Box restaurant on her way home. 

She was horrified the next morning when the news that 
Chuck Leonard had been murdered circulated among their 
friends, and then was on the top of the radio and television 
news shows around Seattle and Everett. 

Still, Joyce didn't look in the bag. She didn't want to 
know what was in it. It stayed in her car trunk, like a poi- 
sonous snake or a time bomb, while she worried about 
what she should do. She decided, finally, to move it to her 
garage. 

Joyce admitted now to Brad Pince and Jim Scharf that 
she had known that Teresa was lying to them on the night 
of February 20 when they came to her house to question 
Teresa. She told them about Teresa's hair appointment that 
day, and how she had hidden Teresa's car in her own ga- 
rage at her request. This was the first time that had ever 
happened. 

She repeated Teresa's statement on the day of Chuck's 
murder when she said she planned to "whack" him. 

Still half-expecting to go to jail, Joyce was reassured 
when that didn't happen. As she left the sheriff's office, 
she wasn't confident that it wouldn't occur in the follow- 
ing days and she shuddered every time her phone rang or 
there was a knock on her door. When days passed and she 
wasn't arrested, she began to feel somewhat more at ease. 



BUT I TRUSTED YOU 

As Joyce continued to clean out her garage, she came 
across something that she knew she hadn't put there. It 
was an almost-full box of .45-caliber ammunition. 

Again through her lawyer, Joyce Lilly contacted the in- 
vestigators at the Snohomish County Sheriff's Office. She 
was a lot calmer than she was the first time she talked to 
them. And she revealed more hidden things. 

"I loaned Teresa a small handgun in October — last 
fall," she said. "She told me that she needed a gun because 
she and Morgan lived alone in an apartment and she had 
no protection. Rick gave it to me a few years ago for the 
same reason, taught me how to use it, and I fired it once or 
twice — but I never used it. It made me nervous to have it 
in my house." 

"Do you know what caliber it was?" Pince asked. 

"I'm not sure what a caliber is. It was a small silver 
gun. It seems as though it might have been a .25 or .22, 
something like that. Teresa took it out in the backyard and 
fired it into the ground — to see if it worked. 

"I haven't seen it since October. It was after she bor- 
rowed it that she told me that she had been in Chuck's 
house one night." 

"Do you know when?" Pince asked. 

She shook her head. "It would have been a few months 
ago — before Christmas. Teresa told me she saw Chuck 
and his girlfriend in bed, so she left." 

That would jibe with what Michelle Conley told detec- 
tives about the November intruder that she'd followed in 
her car. But she had lost the intruder in the dark. At the 
time, she believed it was Teresa's car. However, Chuck had 
decided not to report the matter to police. 



ANN RULE 

Joyce said she wasn't sure where Teresa was at the mo- 
ment. She had been avoiding Teresa. 

Armed with the new information from Joyce Lilly, 
Michael Downes, a senior deputy prosecution attorney 
for Snohomish County, filed an affidavit of probable 
cause. He asked for the arrest of Teresa Gaethe-Leonard 
on first-degree-murder charges. It was granted almost 
immediately. 



On Sunday night, March 2, ten days after Chuck Leonard 
died, Teresa appeared at the Snohomish County Court- 
house in Everett. She did not, however, walk in under her 
own power to be booked. She was accompanied by her 
defense attorney, George Cody, who had driven her there, 
but she was passed out in the backseat of his car, far too 
intoxicated — or possibly under the influence of drugs — to 
walk. Cody was very worried about her condition. At 
length, Cody and Detectives Jim Scharf and John Padilla 
managed to rouse her and support her as they walked her 
into the booking area. She was arraigned the next day in 
district court. 

Cody told reporters that she would plead not guilty to 
the charges against her. He explained that her surrender 
"doesn't mean she confessed. It means she didn't try to run. 
She has not made any admission whatsoever to the police 
in any way of being involved in Chuck Leonard's death." 

The judge wasn't so sure that Teresa wouldn't try to run 
in the day^ ahead, so he set her bail at $500,000 and di- 
rected that it be cash only. This would assure that Teresa 
would remain behind bars for two more weeks. At that 

90 



BUT I TRUSTED YOU 

time, Michael Downes would have to refile the case 
against her in Superior Court. 

Teresa was not without support. Her employees as- 
serted that she was still a nice little woman and they didn't 
believe she was capable of shooting anyone. They sent 
word that they would keep her shop open for her and help 
in any way they could. Even her new lawyer found her 
vulnerable and sweet. He felt sorr>' for her. Like so many 
middle-aged men before him, George Cody was already 
stepping into Teresa Gaethe-Leonard's circle of devoted 
admirers. 

Nick Callas didn't really know what was going on. Te- 
resa had phoned him in Hawaii and told him that Chuck 
had died suddenly. 

"What happened?" Nick asked her at the time. 

"They don't know," she'd said. "Some kind of profound 
trauma — " 

Nick said later that his mind had flashed to an automo- 
bile accident, and he'd pictured Chuck Leonard hitting a 
tree or telephone pole while driving one of his sports 
cars. Teresa hadn't said anything about a gun or murder — 
nothing but "profound trauma." 

Even though he and Teresa had been lovers since 1987, 
years before Teresa met and married Chuck, Nick Callas 
knew very little about her life. They had made a pact that 
they wouldn't talk about unhappy things or her family 
background. For Nick, Teresa had always been sexy, fiin, a 
woman without problems. 

Chuck Leonard had his army of supporters, too. He 
wasn't a man to talk about his problems either — except to 
very close friends. Fie was witty and funny and kind. Ev- 

91 



ANN RULE 

eryone had liked Chuck — with the possible exception of 
Teresa and the friends she had told about his "brutality" 
toward her. 

Somehow, Teresa had managed to keep her juggling act 
of a life together for years. Of all people, the archaic mys- 
tery writer's term "a tissue of lies" fit Teresa. She'd kept 
her wealthy lover, married Chuck, given birth to Morgan, 
and managed to convince any number of people that 
Chuck was abusive toward her. Those who knew him 
couldn't believe it — any more than Teresa's allies could 
believe that she would shoot a man to death as he slept. 

News stories proliferated each day with more and 
more shocking details about the Leonards' marriage, and 
his fatal shooting. The Snohomish County Prosecutor's 
Office said that they believed Teresa had taken a bead on 
her estranged husband as he lay sound asleep, and started 
firing. "He was hit in the arm and twice more in the 
chest," Michael Downes told District Judge Thomas Kelly. 
"One of those .45 -caliber bullets penetrated his chest — 
and that was the wound that killed him." 

On autopsy. Dr. Selove had found that Chuck had died 
of exsanguination: he had bleed to death after being shot. 

The public had no idea what motive Teresa might have 
had to kill her husband. The affidavit for probable cause 
remained sealed. 

There were still many secrets about Teresa. She told peo- 
ple that she was thirty-three and that was what her driver's 
license said, but her divorce papers listed her as thirty-seven. 

Her attorney, George Cody, sat beside Teresa in an 
attorney-client room in the Snohomish County Jail and 
communicated with the court through a closed-circuit 

92 



BUT I TRUSTED YOU 

video hookup as he asked for a reduction in her bail. 
Teresa said nothing. 

Cody asked that her bail be lowered to $100,000, since 
she had willingly talked to detectives at least four times 
before she surrendered just before midnight on the previ- 
ous Sunday. "If she was going to flee," he pointed out, 
"'she already would have done so." 

Downes argued against a bail reduction. The prisoner 
had, after all, proven herself a community threat when she 
shot Chuck Leonard, and had no particular ties to the com- 
munity: her family was in Louisiana and her wealthy boy- 
friend was in Hawaii. 

Judge Thomas Kelly took both sides into consideration 
and lowered Teresa's bail to $200,000. 

Close to a dozen of Chuck Leonard's relatives and 
friends observed these arguments about bail. Two of them 
were attractive women who identified themselves as his 
former girlfriends. Even though they had long since ended 
romantic attachments to him, they had remained platonic 
friends. The group watched and listened and dabbed at the 
tears that often filled their QyQS. What did money matter 
now that Chuck was gone? 

But it did. Enough cash could get Teresa out of jail. The 
Snohomish County detectives were extremely uneasy 
about that possibility, fearing that she would "rabbit" on 
them and disappear. 

When she was charged with first-degree murder in Sno- 
homish County Superior Court a week later, her bail was 
once more raised to $500,000. 

Deputy Prosecutor Downes had little difficulty con- 
vincing Judge Kathryn Trumbull that Teresa, for all her 

93 



ANN RULE 

demure appearance, was a danger to the community, and a 
flight risk with access to money, and that she might well 
take six-year-old Morgan and disappear. 

Someone was already inquiring about how to wire 
money to bail her out, someone who didn't seem at all 
abashed that it would take almost $200,000 to gain her 
release. The man, who called the sheriff's office from 
Hawaii, asked to have his name kept private. 

It was, of course, Teresa's wealthy lover, Nick Callas. 
He said he was prepared to wire the money. Callas didn't 
want to leave Hawaii, and he only grudgingly agreed to 
meet with Michael Downes, Brad Pince, and John Padilla 
if they flew to Maui to talk to him. 

Michael Downes was not only concerned that Teresa 
might leave Washington State, but he feh that Joyce Lilly's 
life might be in danger. If Joyce hadn't gone to the sheriff, 
Teresa might well have walked away scot-free: no jail, no 
bail, no trial. And Downes feared that Joyce — who was 
probably going to be the State's prime witness against her 
former friend — might seem expendable to Teresa. In the 
prosecutor's view, Chuck Leonard had gotten in the way of 
Teresa's plans to move to Hawaii — and he was dead. Joyce 
was now a serious impediment to the defendant's freedom 
and the life she visualized. Although detectives in the 
sheriff's office were keeping an eye on Joyce, they couldn't 
be with her all the time. 

Now the evidence against Teresa was being slowly un- 
veiled. Although her name was not given to reporters, 
Joyce Lilly had received immunity from prosecution in 
exchange for her cooperation with sheriff's investigators. 



94 



BUT I TRUSTED YOU 

The v/hite plastic bag that Joyce gave to Brad Pince 
contained a dark brown polar-fleece jacket with some sort 
of emblem on the shoulder, a pair of sweatpants, light 
brown leather boots with a large bloodstain on one toe, 
bullets, and a magazine for a .4 5 -caliber handgun. The 
gun itself was at the bottom of the bag. It was securely 
locked in the evidence room at the sheriff's office, each 
item bagged, sealed, dated, and signed by the investigator 
who had entered it into the chain of evidence. 

George Cody objected to this alleged evidence being 
admitted into any forthcoming trial, saying, "1 can't com- 
ment on it. because I haven't seen it. I know what they say 
they've got, but I don't know what they have." 

Cody pointed out that Teresa had no criminal record or 
history of making threats. And as far as anything the in- 
vestigation had turned up so far, that was tme. He de- 
scribed her as a dedicated mother who would never leave 
her daughter. Nor would she close down her businesis. She 
needed that income to survive. 

Everything in the white bag was going to the Washing- 
ton State crime lab to be tested for fingerprints, hair, 
DNA, and rug and fabric fibers that might link to Teresa or 
to someone else. 

The sheriff's investigators had searched Teresa's home, 
her consigrmient shop, and her car, looking for receipts 
that might show what she had purchased or where she had 
been in the days before Chuck's fatal shooting. She obvi- 
ously hadn't had the .45 back in October 1996, when she 
borrowed Joyce's handgun, but she had one on the night 
Chuck died. 



95 



ANN RULE 

Joyce didn't think Teresa had returned her small hand- 
gun. Sometime after Chuck's murder and Joyce's accusa- 
tions about Teresa, Joyce found a backpack in her garage 
when she was packing to move. At the time she didn't look 
inside it, assuming it belonged to her twenty-one-year-old 
son. But in April 1997, she did look. There she found her 
.25-caliber gun, wrapped in a woman's handkerchief, 
along with a small box of ammunition. She had no idea 
how it got there. Apparently Teresa had put it m her garage 
sometime over the past five months. 

The Snohomish County detectives didn't find a receipt 
for the .45, but they did find a letter from a realtor on 
Maui, thanking her for her interest in buying property 
there. Oddly, they found a credit card in the name of 
Chuck's mother, Ann, who had been dead for almost five 
years. The card had been issued after her death, and the 
address was for Teresa's consignment shop — ^where Ann 
Leonard had never lived. 

George Cody said he didn't find that strange. "It was a 
cash card that had to be tied to a bank account." He told 
the judge that Chuck Leonard had often had mail sent to 
his wife's shop when they were together and that the vic- 
tim had maintained his bank account jointly with his 
mother long after she was deceased. 

But what was Teresa doing with it? 

One person that Pince, Scharf, and Downes wanted to 
talk to was Nick Callas. Initially, he declined to speak with 
them, saying through his attorney that there was no advan- 
tage to him to become involved. But the Washington State 
lawmen were not going to back oflf so easily. Michael 
Downes threatened to legally summon Callas from Hawaii 

96 



BUT I TRUSTED YOU 

to Everett at county expense, where he would be expected 
to give a deposition on what he knew about Teresa, her re- 
lationship with her estranged husband — and with him — 
and the murder of Chuck Leonard. Superior Court Judge 
Anita Farris agreed with Downes's motion for a subpoena. 

Would Callas come? Or would he change his mind 
about answering questions in Hawaii and decide that that 
would be a lot easier than a six-hour flight to the North- 
west? Actually, Judge Farris had no jurisdiction in Hawaii, 
but the investigators believed that the rich condo owner 
might decide that being an "uncooperative witness" was 
not in his best interest after all. Downes, Pince, and Pa- 
dilla were still willing to fly to Hawaii to talk with Teresa's 
purported lover there. 

Teresa had not appeared as yet in court in person, her 
participation having been accomplished through closed- 
circuit television. Finally Teresa showed up in the court- 
room for the first time in a pretrial hearing. There was a 
murmur in the courtroom as she was led to her chair at the 
defense table. She was a pretty woman, more slender than 
ever after weeks of jail cuisine, and so pale and breakable- 
looking. There were unshed tears in her eyes. The body 
language and facial expressions on court watchers sig- 
naled what they were thinking: How could this sweet- 
looking woman kill a man in cold blood? 

Most laymen have preset notions of how a murderer is 
(supposed to look and act. Some of them are true. Mass 
i murderers and serial killers are almost always male, but 
they don't necessarily look like monsters: many are very 
attractive. A serial killer is addicted to murder. Mass mur- 
derers, of whom we have seen far too many recently, tend 

97 



ANN RULE 

to carry rage within them, blaming others for a job loss, a 
broken marriage, or their inadequacy. They are often in- 
sane and suicidal. 

But women defendants are usually less predictable. 
Their motivation revolves around love in its broadest defi- 
nition (to include jealousy, revenge, sexual attraction) and 
money. Where poison was once their weapon of choice, in • 
the twenty-first century more female killers use a gun. 
They kill people who are close to them, relatives, spouses, 
lovers, and friends who trust them. However, women :5 
whose photos were featured in fact-detective pulp maga- I 
zines from the 1920s to the 1960s tended to be plump and 3 
matronly, passing their time in jail knitting or reading their 
Bibles, or "hussies" who looked like gun molls with dyed 
hair, too much makeup, and scanty attire. 

But Teresa Gaethe-Leonard looked more like a pretty 
kindergarten teacher or someone serving fruit punch at a 
church function. 

That look had stood her in good stead since puberty. 
When she cried or trembled from the emotion of it all, she- 
was even more pitiable. And Michael Downes worried that 
a jury might view her that way. 1 

There was no question at this point that Morgan could % 
live with her mother — Teresa's emotions were too unsta- 
ble. Under an agreement drawn up by the Washington 
State Child Protective Services, Teresa was allowed to 
phone Morgan twice a week for a fifteen-minute moni- 
tored call. However, Judge Farris was concerned that| 
Morgan hadn't seen a counselor yet, apparently because 
Teresa hadn t signed the required papei-work. A guardian j 



BUT I TRUSTED YOU 

was appointed for Morgan who would arrange for her to 
have sessions with a child psychologist. 

On March 12, 1997, Morgan was slated to talk with P. J. 
Summers, a child interview specialist with the Crimes 
Against Children Unit of the Snohomish County Sheriff's 
Office. Since her mother's arrest, she'd been staying with 
Chuck's father and stepmother, Fred and Caroline, at their 
home in Concrete, Washington, and her small world was 
in total upheaval. 

Caroline Leonard brought her into the sheriff's office. 

Morgan wanted to know where her mother was, and 
why she couldn't see her. 

"She's in a safe place," Pince explained, "but you can't 
see her right now." 

"I need to ask about my daddy," she pressed. 

Pince said he would talk to her about that later. Morgan 
was willing to talk to P. J., whom Pince introduced as a 
friend of his, but she made him promise to answer some 
questions for her when she was finished. 

Morgan told P. J. Summers that her mother was going 
to get married in Hawaii and she and her mom were going 
to move there. "I'm going to be a flower girl at the wed- 
ding," she said. 

She was clinging to the happy-ever-after ending that her 
mother had promised her. She said she knew her daddy was 
dead, but she didn't really understand what had happened. 

Pince kept his word and, after Morgan's interview with 
P. J., he did his best to explain what had happened to her 
father. He told her that Chuck had been shot. She didn't 
ask who had done that. They talked a little bit about how 



ANN RULE 

anyone could have gotten into his house. Morgan said she 
knew that he had some guns around the house, but they 
were kept up high or locked up and she was not allowed to 
touch them. She didn't think her mother had any guns at 
all in her house. 

Pince was very gentle with her. Morgan was confused 
about what could have happened. She wanted things back 
the way they were before. 

If only ... 



The Snohomish County investigators talked to dozens of 
people as they reconstructed the last day of Chuck Leo- 
nard's life. He had, indeed, had drinks and dinner with 
friends at Buck's American Cafe in Everett on Wednesday 
night, and he'd been trying to find someone to go to 
Karrah's Club, a nearby casino, with him. But he had no 
luck. Les Staunton was tired after arriving home from his 
South American trip. Michelle wished him good luck, but 
she was turning in early. She asked him to call her when 
he left the casino or when he got home. 

The "skinny blonde" he'd talked about taking to gamble 
with him was a former waitress at Buck's. She'd eaten 
with Chuck and his friends, but hadn't wanted to go to 
Harrah's so late on a weeknight either. 

A cocktail waitress at Harrah's confirmed that Chuck 
had been in the gambling casino that night. She said he 
was usually loud and raucous after a few drinks, and it 
would be difficult to forget him — although he was also a 
nice guy who had a great sense of humor. However, on this 
last night, he'd seemed "down" or "depressed." 

100 



BUT I TRUSTED YOU 

Chuck had arrived late — after eleven. He wasn't in her 
section, so she had no idea how many drinks he had. "By 
the time I saw him, he was drinking bottled water," she 
said. "After two a.m., the drinks are cut off." 

Chuck Leonard had left Harrah's quietly and probably 
driven straight home; it wasn't more than a half hour's 
drive. 



They were now eight days away fi'om Teresa's April trial 
date for the murder of Chuck Leonard. 

But like most high-profile trials, Teresa's was delayed. 
Rather than beginning in April, it was rescheduled for July 
1997. And then, quite suddenly, on April 25, after eight 
weeks in jail, Teresa was released. Her half-million-dollar 
cash bail had been paid. Her attorney, George Cody, said a 
group of her friends had raised the money because they were 
worried that Teresa wouldn't be able to choose who would 
have custody of Morgan if she had to do it from a jail cell. 

But Teresa's fi-iends and relatives weren't anywhere 
near that rich. In truth, the bail money came almost en- 
tirely from one very close friend: Nick Callas. He may not 
have chosen to divorce his wife and marry Teresa, but he 
seemed to care deeply for her. 

George Cody, too, was very taken with Teresa. He 
doted on her, and some observers wondered if his feelings 
for her were more than those of an attorney for his client. 
Just before Teresa walked free from her jail cell. Detective 
John Padilla asked Teresa's new lawyer, John Henry 
Browne, to be present while he photographed Teresa in the 
clothing she'd worn the night Chuck died. 

101 



ANN RULE 

With a female detective present, too, Padilla began by 
taking several photographs of the suspect as she looked in 
her normal clothing. 

She was annoyed, and said sarcastically, "Of course you 
had to do this before my cosmetic surgery." 

He wasn't sure if she was kidding or not. Next, he took 
pictures of Teresa wearing the sweatpants, dark brown 
fleece jacket, and bloodied boots. He noted that she never 
looked at him or the clothes; instead she gazed with empty 
eyes at the door to the room they were in. She didn't seem 
particularly upset. Rather, she seemed removed, as though 
she had stepped out of her body, blocking any angst she 
might feel at seeing the stained items again. 

George Cody had found an apartment for Teresa and 
paid the rent. There was no possibility that she could have 
Morgan live with her. Chuck's family v/ouldn't hear of it, 
and the court felt Teresa wasn't currently stable enough to 
have her back. But there was more. If Morgan lived with 
Teresa, what would stop the accused murderess from dis- 
guising herself and her daughter and vanishing? Who 
would prevent Teresa from convincing Morgan of just 
about anything she wanted her to believe? 

Morgan had told her grandparents and her Aunt Theresa 
that she was going to have a "new daddy" when her mother 
got married. Fred, Caroline, and Theresa were alarmed. 

"And I'm going to have flowers in my hair at the wed- 
ding," Morgan burbled. "My mommy said so and she 
doesn't lie." 

Although the case appeared to be growing tighter 
around Teresa, there were gaps in it, and there were still 
many people who absolutely refused to think of her as a 

102 



BUT I TRUSTED YOU 

killer. The men who loved her and the women she'd cho- 
sen to be her confidantes still could not equate the bubbly, 
caring Teresa with their image of a murderess. 

Detective John Padilla took advantage of the trial delay 
to see if he could find out who Teresa really was. He 
called Lieutenant Steve Buras of the Homicide Division 
of the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office in Louisiana and 
asked him if he would search his records there for any 
information on Teresa Gaethe-Leonard. Padilla gave the 
Louisiana lawmen every possible combination he could 
come up with about Teresa: her birthdate, Social Security 
number, her names, parents' names, even her father's date 
of birth. 

Buras called Padilla a few hours later and said he 
couldn't find any information on Teresa, but he was going 
to check with the Social Security office in his jurisdiction 
and see if they might have something on her activities. 

Next, Padilla found the phone number for Gary Gaethe, 
Teresa's ex-husband. He called him in early summer, 
1997. Gaethe was most forthcoming with what he knew 
about her. 

According to Gaethe, Teresa had lived most of her life 
in Pensacola, Florida, and she attended high school there 
until her parents moved to Metairie, Louisiana. He knew 
her mother's name was Gloria, and that she had two sis- 
ters, but he'd forgotten their names. 

"After we divorced," he said cryptically, "I got rid of 
everything that reminded me of Teresa." 

Gaethe 's romance with Teresa began much like her in- 
volvement with Chuck Leonard. He had been in a depart- 
ment store, buying a present for his mother. They struck 

103 



ANN RULE 

up a conversation. He got the impression that she was in 
her twenties. 

"I found out later that she was only a teenager," he said. 
"We dated for about three years before we got married. 
She was a fun and exciting person to be with." 

Gary Gaethe made good money. He owned a sailboat, a 
plush condominium, and expensive cars. They took trips 
together and reveled in an outdoor life. 

When they got married, Gary had a BMW and he 
bought Teresa a Lotus. He moved his sailboat to Pensa- 
cola, and they lived together aboard her for a few months. 
"We had a lot of fun," he recalled. 

But it didn't last. Gaethe said there were cracks in their 
relationship almost from the day they got married. He 
worked four days a week in New Orleans, while Teresa in- 
sisted upon living on their boat. He would have much pre- 
ferred that they live in his condo in New Orleans and 
spend their weekends and vacations on his sailboat. 

"She became very cold to me," he recalled to Padilla. 
"She wanted her own apartment. And for the first two 
months of our marriage, she isolated me from my family." 

Thinking back on what might have caused Teresa to be 
frosty toward him, Gaethe said he believed it started when 
he suggested they slow down their spending a little. "I told 
her I didn't want to have the financial pressure of all the 
bills for things we really didn't need." 

That was all it took. His bride set her jaw and turned 
away from him. She had enjoyed their life as long as there I 
were no restrictions on her spending habits. Shortly there- 
after, they separated and lived apart for seven months until 
their divorce became final. 

104 



1\ 



BUT I TRUSTED YOU 

Gary had loved Teresa and he took the divorce hard. 
Even so, he wanted to be sure she was okay. He got her an 
apartment, gave her money to live, and bought her another 
car and new furniture. He was instrumental in getting her 
the concierge job at the Sheraton Hotel. 

And then she walked out of his life without a backward 
glance. 

"I didn't see her again for about ten years," Gaethe told 
Padilla. "Not until she called me out of the blue four 
months ago. It was like nothing had ever happened be- 
tween us. She told me she had a beautiful daughter and 
that she was no longer married. She said she owned a 
fancy boutique, and that she was coming to New Orleans 
to see her mother. She asked if she and her little girl could 
stay with me for a while when they came down." 

Gary Gaethe was unaware that Gloria Jones had been 
dead for almost seven years at that point. Or that Teresa 
was soon to go on trial for murdering the husband who 
came after him. Even so, he demurred about having her 
stay with him. He had long since moved on, and didn't 
want to open old wounds. 

Teresa stayed in Washington. Teresa had been very ex- 
citing and fiin. "But when it came to reality, she was as 
cold as ice. She was an accomplished liar — I learned that. 
You know, I think she even believed her own lies." 

"Was Teresa capable of handling a gun?" Padilla asked. 

"She sure was. I had a house in the woods, and Teresa 
and I used to go out there for target practice. We shot all 
kinds of guns, but primarily a .44 magnum." 

Padilla contacted the Registry of Vital Statistics in New 
Orleans next, and he came up with three names Teresa had 

105 



ANN RULE 

used before she became Teresa Leonard: Teresa E. Jones, 
Teresa E. Goldstein, and Teresa E. Gaethe. He wondered 
how many others there were. 



Teresa's trial was postponed yet again, to October 1997. 
She had her new attorney, one of the most effective crimi- 
nal defense lawyers in the Seattle area. His name was John 
Henry Browne, the same John Henry Browne who had 
once advised Ted Bundy on his legal options more than 
twenty years earlier, and who had defended many of the 
most high-profile accused killers in the Northwest. 
Browne was a flamboyant and passionate advocate for his 
clients, and a successful one, too. He would probably be 
among the three top choices in the state for someone fac- 
ing serious criminal charges. How Teresa could afford 
Browne was a question; perhaps Nick Callas had stepped 
in once more to rescue her from a long prison sentence. 

Nick had always promised he would stand behind her. 
Indeed, Nick contacted many of Teresa's women friends 
and asked them to support her emotionally; he was very 
worried about her. 

In late summer, Teresa was in the headlines again. John 
Henry Browne told reporters that she had barely survived 
an overdose of prescription drugs. He stressed that she had 
not attempted suicide — the overdose was accidental. She 
had been taken to Stevens Memorial Hospital in Edmonds, 
Washington, on August 28 in a comatose state from a 
combination of antidepressant and sleeping pills. 

"She almost died," Browne had said the day after she 



106 



BUT I TRUSTED YOU 

was hospitalized, adding that physicians were preparing to 
do "brain-death studies" to determine if her memory loss 
was temporary or permanent. 

Prosecutor Michael Downes was less sympathetic, as- 
serting that she had deliberately attempted suicide. He 
asked Judge Ronald Castleberry to raise her bail to 
$5 million to assure that she would remain in jail until her 
trial. The judge perused a doctor's report on her condition, 
and deduced that neither the State nor the Defense was 
completely accurate. He didn't believe that her condition 
after overdosing was critical or that she was comatose, but 
he did think it had all been an accident. 

Castleberry denied a raise in Teresa's bail to the almost 
unheard-of amount, but he stipulated that she avoid alcohol 
and continue all treatment — ^psychological and medical — 
and that every doctor who might prescribe medication for 
her be aware of what she was getting from the others. 

Chuck Leonard had been dead for six months, and the 
path toward trial seemed to be getting slower and slower. 
Brad Pince and D.A. Michael Downes kept working, gath- 
ering more evidence. They continued to find rumors, anec- 
dotes, and accusations about Teresa; she had convinced any 
number of people — both men and women — that they were 
essential to her well-being, that she cared a great deal for 
them and was grateful for all the help they gave her. 

Her first attorney, George Cody, was at the forefront of 
her defenders. Although he was no longer representing her 
in the murder case, he was overseeing her civil affairs. He 
had found a new apartment for her and paid all the ex- 
penses there through his law firm. He was probably infatu- 



107 



ANN RULE 

ated with Teresa. When she mentioned how much she 
wanted to have some plastic surgery, he couldn't see why 
she would need it — ^but he didn't try to talk her out of it. 

Nick Callas was still sending her money, although not 
as much after he'd put up $500,000 bail money for her. 
Her loyal employees at The Consignment Shop were keep- 
ing it open, knowing she needed that income. Although 
Joyce Lilly had kept her distance since she turned in evi- 
dence and information that led to Teresa's arrest, Teresa 
had several other female friends who stood by her. 

One friend, Carol Fabray,* had given birth to a new son 
in 1997, and she was touched when Teresa was so inter- 
ested and concerned for her, despite her own problems. 
Although they made many appointments to meet so Teresa 
could give the new baby a present, it wasn't until late fall 
that Teresa showed up at Carol's home. 



108 



Chapter Six 



It was close to 9:00 a.m. on November 13, 1997, when 
Brad Pince walked by Sergeant Al Zurlo's desk in the ho- 
micide unit. Zurlo was on the phone and obviously trying 
to calm down whoever was on the other end of the line. He 
had written a name on a pad in front of him: Grace Callas. 
■ Pince knew that surname, and he heard Zurlo say, "I'll 
transfer you to Detective Pince 's extension — " 

But the woman's voice came tlirough the receiver so 
loudly that Pince could hear her. He raised his eyebrows 
questioningly, and Zurlo covered the mouthpiece and 
whispered quickly, "She says her name is Grace Callas, 
and she's hysterical. She wants information about her 
husband's involvement in one of our homicide investiga- 
tions." 

Pince picked up the phone and identified himself Zurlo 
was right; the woman was sobbing and screaming into the 
phone. It was difficult to make sense of what she was say- 
ing, but he finally deduced that she was Nick Callas 's 
wife, and, of course, Nick was Teresa Gaethe-Leonard's 
lover. 

"Ma'am, ma'am," Pince said, "I think I know who you 

109 



ANN RULE 

are. How can I help you? If you can calm down a little, 
maybe I can answer any questions you have." 

"Two days ago — on November 1 1 — I found some ro- 
mantic cards in my husband's business papers," she said, 
still crying. "They were from someone named Teresa 
Leonard. When I asked him about where the cards came 
from, he told me that this . . . this Teresa person is involved 
in a murder in your jurisdiction. He says he's been dragged 
into the middle of it." 

Not surprisingly Grace Callas wanted to know more 
about Teresa and what her husband had to do with her. 

She had done some detective work of her own before 
she called the sheriff's office. When Nick left on Novem- 
ber 12, she began searching through their computer files. 
She found two listings for "Teresa." One was for someone 
associated with Orca Travel in Marysville, Washington. 
When she called the number given, she reached a consign- 
ment shop instead. The woman who answered said she 
was in the process of buying the store from Teresa Gaethe- 
Leonard. 

Grace Callas had asked her husband who this was. He 
was angry and said, "You don't know what you're getting 
into. You have to stop your little detective work. Stop dig- 
ging and stop asking questions." 

But that just spurred her on more. She noted the area 
code for Marysville and called every law enforcement 
agency in that region, finally ending up with the Snohom- 
ish County Sheriff's Office. 

Brad Pince explained carefully that Nick Callas had 
been interviewed as a "possible witness" in a homicide 
case involving Teresa Gaethe-Leonard. 

110 



BUT I TRUSTED YOU 

"Why?" she. asked. "Why on earth? — " 

Pince drew a deep breath. "I should explain to you that 
your husband has been paying Teresa Leonard's legal ex- 
penses, and he's posted $500,000 cash to bail her out of 
jail." 

"What?" Grace Cailas gasped, much more upset now 
than when she had originally called the sheriff's office. 

"She was barely able to continue the conversation," 
Pince commented later. "And she kept asking me what she 
needed to do." 

Grace sobbed as she told Pince that her husband was 
spending all their money, that she herself had no indepen- 
dent resources, and now he was leaving her and their son 
"high and dry" without any money to pay their bills. 

All Pince could do was suggest that she obtain legal 
help to protect her personal finances. 

From her comments, Pince deduced that things were 
not as rosy in the Cailas marriage as Nick had descnbed. 
Grace said she no longer lived in Hawaii. "I had to move 
because of my medical condition. The local doctors in Ha- 
waii ran out of ways to treat me, so I had to move to Cali- 
fornia with my son Jack, and I'm staying with my sister 
while I undergo treatment. Nick still lives in Hawaii, but 
he comes to California to visit us " 

Grace Cailas had not been aware how important 
Teresa was to him. Until she found the cards, she had 
never even heard of Teresa. Now she said she was going 
to contact her family's attorney to see that her assets were 
protected. 

Two hours later, Brad Pince received a call from 
Grace's lawyer. He said that she was still upset to the point 

111 



ANN RULE 

of hysteria, but he would see that she was properiy repre- 
sented, if not by him, then by another attorney. 

At four thirty on this same day, Grace Callas called 
once more and seemed much calmer. Pince explained 
that he, John Padilla, and Michael Downes had gone to 
Hawaii to interview her husband earlier in the year, and 
Pince gave her more details on the death of Chuck Leon- 
ard. Grace confided that she had had issues with Nick for 
years, and had known of several girlfriends he had. "He 
lies to me, and he can be intimidating. I'm afraid of 
him." 

Knowing now her penchant for high emotion, Pince 
suspected that Grace Callas could be exaggerating, espe- 
cially when she said Nick called her several times a day. 
He appeared to be a man who was constantly on the 
phone; between his many daily calls to Teresa, and his 
business calls, and constant calls to his wife, too, it was a 
wonder the man got anything done, let alone manage to 
successfully juggle a wife and a mistress and a business. 

Pince and Downes were anxious to see the cards Teresa 
had sent to Nick Callas. They would, perhaps, substantiate 
that the two did have a very romantic, intimate relation- 
ship, far more intense than either of them had admitted. 
They would need to obtain the actual cards to use as court 
exhibits; copies wouldn't be as easy for a handwriting ex- 
pert to examine. 

Three days later, on November 16, 1997, Pince talked 
once more to Grace Callas. She had retained an attorney — 
Eleanor Stegmeier — and would turn the cards from Teresa 
to Nick over to her. As Pince had suggested, she had taken 



112 



BUT I TRUSTED YOU 

notes during her phone conversations with Nick. He had 
warned her, she said, to stop snooping into his business. 

"Did he tell you anything about Chuck Leonard's mur- 
der?" Pince asked. 

"He told me that Teresa killed her husband for the in- 
surance money — that she's now saying Chuck abused their 
daughter, but that that's not true. He said that he had no 
involvement with Teresa, but that everyone who knew her 
was being investigated. She wanted the insurance money 
and she wanted to move to Hawaii." 

"Which was it?" Pince asked. "Did your husband say 
her motive was Chuck Leonard's insurance payoff — or 
that she shot him because he was molesting their daugh- 
ter?" 

She wasn't sure; she thought that Nick had told her dif- 
ferent things at different times. 

"I've been told," Pince began, "that the reason Nick 
can't leave you is because all the money he has is money 
you brought into the marriage?" 

"When I married him in December 1989, I had about 
$300,000 — but all of my money has been spent. It's gone 
now. I have no idea what Nick's assets are worth — he 
hides that from me," she sighed. "He always tells me he's 
broke. He wouldn't pay ten dollars for his son to sit on 
Santa's lap." 

Pince didn't have to ask questions; Grace seemed to 
have an endless list of grievances against her husband of 
eight years. She said that when Nick left Hawaii on trips, 
he always suspended her credit cards so she couldn't 
spend any money while he was gone. 



113 



ANN RULE 

It was like watching an Oprah or Dr. Phil show on 
nasty divorces. But the Callases weren't getting a divorce, 
and Grace insisted they were still married and not really 
separated — except temporarily, and only for medical rea- 
sons. 

On December 1 , Pince and Michael Downes, the assis- 
tant prosecutor, flew to Orange County, California, and 
met with Grace and her attorney. Although she was will- 
ing to let the Washington investigators look at the actual 
romantic cards Teresa had sent to Nick, and to ask Grace 
Callas some questions, Eleanor Stegmeier refused to turn 
over the cards to them. 

But they needed the original cards because they would 
"tend to show that a felony had been committed, or that a 
particular person committed a felony." 

The cards certainly established that Teresa and Nick 
had been in an intimate relationship — something they 
both continued to deny ten months after Chuck's murder. 
If Pince and Downes had to get a search warrant to seize 
them as evidence, they would do that. 

Brad Pince and Michael Downes wondered if Teresa 
was responsible for putting those cards in Nick's accor- 
dion file, knowing full well that Grace would find them 
when she worked on the books. 

Grace told them that Nick was accusing her of trying to 
send him to prison for ten years with her stubborn snoop- 
ing. And he'd brought in his big guns when he'd said that 
she could be "arrested as a conspirator, dragged to Wash- 
ington State, and forced to leave my son behind. 

"He told me that you destroyed evidence, Mr. Pince, 
that Chuck Leonard was a pornographer, and that the sher- 

114 



BUT I TRUSTED YOU 

iff 's office destroyed evidence proving that he was molest- 
ing his daughter, and that you ruined Teresa's alibi." 

Grace Callas said that, above all, her husband had 
warned her not to talk to any detectives from Washington. 
That would be best for him, certainly. Grace was a loose 
cannon, highly suspicious, given to outbursts of emotion, 
and torn between getting revenge against him and Teresa 
and not wanting to let go of her marriage. 

Few people are more dangerous than women scorned. 



The two cards that someone had slipped into the financial 
records of Nick and Grace's corporation would have 
stunned any wife. The first one was all trees and hearts, 
drawn as simply as a child would, although the printed 
sentiments were written by an artist at the American 
Greetings card company: 

/ don 't ever want 

to take you for granted. 

I don 't ever want to forget 

what it was like before you 

or how it would be 

without you. 

I don 't ever want to forget 

our first kiss 

or our last touch, 

or let a day go by 

without telling you 

how much you mean to me, 

how deeply I love you, and how much I need you. 

115 



ANN RULE 

/ don 't ever want you to doubt 
the way I feel or how much 
happier I am because of you. 
I love you. 

And in Teresa's own handwriting: 

With all My heart & Soul 

Love, 

Teresa 

XXOOO 

The second card showed a bridal couple through a car's 
rear window. They were dressed in 1930s wedding clothes 
and kissing. The word "ALWAYS" was printed in capital 
letters beneath. 

This card was written in Teresa's hand, and like the first, 
would give any wife pause. 

Nick, 

You give Me peace ... that I've never had. . . . 
Thank you— for you. 

T 

"I love You so Much. . . . Your (sic) everything to 
Me. I thank you for being in my life. Standing by Me 
& Loving Me! You are Everything I could Want. . . . 
What everyone wants. . . . You are kind & knowing . . . 
gentel (sic) & smart. . . . Your (sic) Just right! — I 
miss You Every Second & think about You Every 
Second. . . . I feel as if I've known You all My Life. . . . 

116 



BUT I TRUSTED YOU 

/ know Your Love for Me . . . & I cannot tell You How 
Special It and You have Made me feel! . . . I know I 
have caused You pain & I cannot tell you how Sorry 
I am for that! The Outside World is Crazy for me & I 
am trying to find a way thru this. . . . You are the 
Most Wonderful! 

Love You, 

Teresa! OOXX 



Teresa had many reasons to be thankful to Nick Callas. 
Were it not for him and the bail money he'd posted for her, 
she would probably still be sitting behind bars in the Sno- 
homish County Jail. Instead, she was living in a nice 
apartment that her attorney, George Cody, was paying for, 
and she had at least $10,000 in cash to pay John Henry 
Browne. She wasn't working, and either Nick Callas or 
George Cody had given her Browne's fee. 

They both trusted her. 

Teresa's one regret was that she could not see Morgan, 
although she was still allowed monitored phone conversa- 
tions with her. Without Morgan, she seemed devastated. 

With the assistance of Detective Tim Schennum of the 
Costa Mesa Police Department, Michael Downes and 
Brad Pince obtained a search warrant for Eleanor Steg- 
meier's office. To search an attorney's, physician's, or 
clergy person's office, California law demands that a "spe- 
cial master" (a state bar-appointed attorney) be present. 
Grace Callas 's lawyer was not pleased to have a search 
warrant served on her at her office. 

After an impasse, she agreed to talk with Detective 

117 



ANN RULE 

Schennum. The original cards were delivered to Downes 
and Pince soon after. It would have been much easier and 
less costly if that had been done in the beginning, but 
Grace's attorney had wanted to protect her. 

Browne and Downes jousted in their arguments. 
Browne pointed out that Teresa had been responsible and 
cooperative since she had bailed out from jail, and Downes 
voiced his concern that she was "an unpredictable person" 
whom he still considered a danger to the witnesses pre- 
pared to testify against her. 



118 



Chapter Seven 



And unpredictable Teresa Gaethe-Leonard was. 
As Christmas decorations appeared in the first week of 
December 1997, law enforcement departments in Wash- 
ington State were searching for her. She had disappeared. 

She probably would not look like the Teresa in her ear- 
lier photographs. She had had plastic surgery in Novem- 
ber. Teresa had a new nose, a forehead lift or Botox 
injections, and a modification of her prominent chin. If 
she had a new haircut, and changed the color of her hair 
she might be hard to recognize. 

Wherever she was. 

She had apparently paid for the surgery with the esti- 
mated $10,000 to $15,000 meant to retain John Henry 
Browne, Although Browne was a generous man who often 
represented clients pro bono (for free) when they had no 
means to pay, he wasn't pleased that she had simply run 
out on him without any warning. She had shown up for an 
appointment with him a few days earlier, and she was 
scheduled to be in his office again on December 3. 

Teresa had missed her appointment with Browne, but 
she had been in touch with him as recently as the previous 

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ANN RULE 

weekend. He was as baffled as Nick Callas and George 
Cody were that she would bolt and run, mostly because 
Browne felt her defense case had been getting stronger. 
He believed she had a good chance at acquittal. That 
chance would diminish markedly now if the detectives 
could prove Teresa had deliberately disappeared — and 
they probably could. 

Browne walked into the Snohomish County Sheriff's 
Office to notify them that Teresa was missing. 

According to Nick Callas, he had stopped sending Te- 
resa money for living expenses in late spring 1997. He 
believed that George Cody was taking care of that. 

Callas did admit, however, that beyond putting up her 
bail money, it was he who had furnished the check to pay 
John Henry Browne. 

Cody hadn't spoken to Teresa for a few days, nor had 
he been able to reach her by phone after December 1 . He 
went to the apartment he'd rented for her. The manager let 
him in, and there was the immediate sense that the rooms 
had been abandoned. It smelled empty. Dust had begun to 
settle on flat areas, and beyond some food spoiling in the 
refrigerator, there was no sign that anyone currently lived 
there. Most of Teresa's furniture was gone, along with her 
personal items. 

Their footsteps echoed on bare floors. 

Stunned, Cody gave notice on the apartment — he felt in 
his gut that Teresa didn't plan to come back here. Her car 
was parked nearby, however, and he had it towed to a safe 
place. 



120 



BUT I TRUSTED YOU 

Now Teresa had betrayed three men who were trying to 
help her gain her freedom: Nick Callas, George Cody, and 
John Henry Browne. And aside from breaking promises to 
them, she had cost each of them financially — Nick the 
most. Browne was the only one without emotional ties to 
Teresa, but he was frustrated with himself that he hadn't 
seen it coming. 

Nick was now holding the bag for $500,000 in bail 
money. His marriage had blown all to pieces, and for all 
her promises to him, her professions of love and her senti- 
mental cards, he realized that Teresa had abandoned him. 

Yes, she had been depressed because she had little con- 
tact with Morgan, but that could change at any time. If she 
should be acquitted of murder charges, Morgan could live 
with her again, but for now, Morgan was on the State's 
witness list. And even if Teresa could somehow arrange to 
meet up with her young daughter, as a fugitive from jus- 
tice, she would always be looking over her shoulder. 

It had been only three months since Teresa's "acciden- 
tal" overdose in Washington State. Had she gone off to 
some lonely place where she could commit suicide without 
being rescued? Michael Downes thought not. He cited 
signs that she had planned her escape. Her home in Everett 
had been emptied of almost everything of value. Eventu- 
ally, the Snohomish County detectives would locate her 
belongings in storage at a female acquaintance's home. 

Chuck's sister, Theresa Leonard, had taken custody of 
Morgan, and they were living in Portland, Oregon. The- 
resa was frightened when she heard that Teresa had fled. 
She worried that Morgan's mother might try to kidnap the 
five-year-old and take her with her in her flight to avoid 

121 



ANN RULE 

prosecution. The Snohomish County investigators reas- 
sured Aunt Theresa that they had notified the Portland 
Police Department and Morgan's school that her mother 
did not have legal custody of her, and that it was possible 
she might attempt to abduct her. 

Jan Jorgensen, spokeswoman for the Snohomish 
County Sheriff's Office, told reporters that they were re- 
ceiving assistance from the FBI, the U.S. Marshal's Ser- 
vice, and the Washington State Attorney General's Office 
in an ever-spreading dragnet for Teresa. 

Michael Downes stopped himself from saying "I told 
you so," but it was obvious that the "no bail" he'd re- 
quested three months earlier would have prevented her 
from running simply because she would have been jailed 
until her trial. 

The Snohomish County detectives first thought that she 
had probably gone to Hawaii, and that she was being hid- 
den by Callas. But he willingly cooperated with them, and 
they believed he hadn't heard from her. Some of his devo- 
tion to her had to have diminished since Teresa had just cost 
him $500,000. He assured the investigators that she hadn't 
contacted him at all and he had no idea where she was. 

Nor did any of Teresa's girlfriends who considered 
themselves part of her inside circle or the psychologist 
whom the defense team had consulted, even though Te- 
resa had had twenty-five sessions with her since May. 
Teresa clearly knew when to keep herself to herself 

Witnesses came forward to say that Teresa appeared to 
have black eyes before Thanksgiving; many suspected she 
had either been in a brawl or, more likely, had had plastic 
surgery. What did she look like now? Detectives found the 

122 



BUT I TRUSTED YOU 

plastic surgeon who had operated on her. He verified that 
her face had changed after he had operated on her on No- 
vember 1 1 , modifying her chin and nose. With her blond 
hair dyed dark, and wearing sunglasses, it would be very 
hard to spot her, even if they knew where to look. 

As the days passed, it seemed likely that Teresa had left 
the country, or at least the mainland. She could not have 
done that with her own ID, even though she had in her 
possession various credit cards using different names. She 
would need either a driver's license or a passport with a 
photo on it at some points in her journey — to get on a 
plane or to cash checks. 

From the beginning. Brad Pince, John Padilla, and Jim 
Scharf had worked with various phone companies to have 
numbers that she might call monitored. Nick Callas had 
myriad phone numbers, set up under many names, some 
with special calling plans that would assure his wife 
would not know how often he'd talked to Teresa over the 
last few years. One was a "500" setup that seemed de- 
signed specifically so the two of them could send and re- 
ceive calls to each other from anywhere in the world. 

Even after she had sacrificed Nick's bail money when 
she fled, detectives had seen how addicted he was to her. 
Long after he had to have known that she was capable of 
murder he had remained steadfastly supportive of her; it 
apparently never occurred to him that Teresa would ever 
be dangerous to him or his family. He appeared to cling to 
his belief that Teresa was "ninety percent angel." 

Pince and Padilla kept careful track of calls to Nick 
Callas 's many numbers. And that paid off. Cell phone calls 
had come in to one of those phones from Puerto Rico. A 

123 



ANN RULE 

cautious statement to the media said that someone close to 
Teresa had heard from her, although detectives would not 
reveal which of her friends or relatives had received the 
calls. 

Two weeks later, the investigators said that the Puerto 
Rico cell phone calls had gone to Nick Callas. They still 
would not verify that the calls had come from Teresa 
Gaethe-Leonard. How she had made her way to Puerto 
Rico was anyone's guess — but she had evidently had 
money. 

By checking flight manifests, detectives found the 
name of a thirty-five-year-old Snohomish County woman 
who had flown on American Airlines from Seattle to Chi- 
cago on December 2, 1997, and then to Puerto Rico on a 
one-way ticket. Her name was Carolyn Fabray. 

Carolyn turned out to be another woman who had felt 
sorry for Teresa, and stayed a friend to her despite the 
murder charges against her. She admitted to detectives that 
she was storing several large furniture pieces — including a 
bed and a futon — because Teresa could no longer pay her 
apartment rent. She had even offered her pick-up truck to 
move the furniture. 

Did she know where her driver's license, credit cards, 
and other pieces of ID were? When the investigators asked 
her that, she went to her bedroom and came back with the 
purse she kept them in. As she rifled through her purse and 
then dumped the contents on a table, she looked up, sur- 
prised. 

"They're not here?" she said, surprised. "My ID is 
gone." 

"All of it?" Detective Joe Ward asked. 

124 



BUT I TRUSTED YOU 

"No — but my Washington State ID card is gone, and 
some of my kids' medical cards are missing." 

"Did your state ID card have your photograph on it?" 
Brad Pince asked, already knowing the answer. 

"Yes." 

Carolyn Fabray bore a resemblance to Teresa Gaethe- 
Leonard: same age, same body type, and her features were 
similar. Without knowing it, she had provided Teresa with 
a way to pass airport security. It was 1997 — four years 
before 9/11, and few who staffed the airline ticket coun- 
ters and gates took more than a cursory look at ID. 

A federal warrant for Teresa Gaethe-Leonard's arrest 
on charges of fleeing to avoid prosecution was issued on 
December 11,1 997, nine days after she vanished. The FBI 
and the Fugitive Task Force in Puerto Rico were notified 
of the general location of the calls emanating from there. 

Teresa was probably somewhere in San Juan, but they 
didn't know exactly where. And there was a good chance 
that she might be moving on to other countries, using 
Puerto Rico only as a jumping-off location. Nick Callas 
suggested that she might sign on to be a crew member on 
a boat. 

But she hadn't. 

Five days later, Teresa was arrested in yet another hospi- 
tal room. She had been taken there after a suicide attempt, 
this one far more serious than the one in August. Had she 
meant to come so close to dying? Possibly not, but what 
could be more lonely than being far from home and the 
daughter she cherished as Christmas approached — not to 
mention being faced with murder charges in an upcoming 
trial? There was no cold weather, or snow, or evergreen 

125 



ANN RULE 

trees in San Juan. There were poinsettias, but they were 
trees reaching rooftops, not plants wrapped in red-and-gold 
foil. The language she heard was Spanish. 

Teresa was adrift and alone. 

Probably Teresa loved Morgan as much as she was ca- 
pable of loving anyone. The little girl was part of her, 
closer to her than the sisters and brother she had grown up 
with. Morgan was the one person in the world who had 
believed in her completely, and taken her every word as 
gospel. As one of Teresa's employees said once, "Teresa 
and Morgan were like two peas in a pod." 

One has to wonder if Teresa pondered on what a stupid 
and cruel thing she had done when she shot Chuck. Per- 
haps she didn't care for anyone else — even Morgan. She 
had taken another human being's life, and that had ruined 
her own future. What did she have to look forward to as 
she sat alone in a hotel room, watching neon lights create 
flashing multicolored images on the shadowy walls of her 
room and hearing the constant rhythm of steel drums and 
the thrum of salsa, bomba, and reggae music instead of 
Christmas carols? 

Even though she may not have been aware of it, those 
who hunted Teresa were closing in on her, and Nick, the 
man she'd counted on completely for years, was no longer 
in her corner. She had burned too many bridges behind 
her. 

John Henry Browne explained to reporters how Teresa 
had been located in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He had re- 
ceived a call from her sister Lois with disturbing news 
about Teresa's condition and he had moved immediately to 
talk to the hospital where she'd reportedly been taken. 

126 



BUT I TRUSTED YOU 

She'd been living in the Embassy Suites Hotel in San 
Juan under the name Sally Lopez. She might have been 
out of money or going back to her first apartment over a 
laundromat. She might have been planning to catch an- 
other plane, headed far away. 

Or she may have finally decided to check out of her 
Hfe. 

Teresa's time at the Embassy Suites had run out, and 
she was due to leave the hotel on December 15 — but by 
1 :00 p.m., she failed to turn in her key and receive a copy 
of her bill. 

The main desk gave her a few more hours, and then a 
stafif member checked her room to see if she was still 
there. The door was bolted from the inside and they had to 
break in. When they did, they saw that she had wedged a 
chair against the door, too. 

Teresa was inside, unconscious and cold to the touch. 
The hotel called an ambulance, and she was rushed to the 
Catalina Regional Hospital. She was placed under the care 
of Dr. Gootsman, who said that she had overdosed on pre- 
scription drugs and probably alcohol. Her condition was 
"serious but stable." She was admitted to the San Juan 
hospital as Sally Lopez. She also went by the name Sally 
Fabray in Puerto Rico. 

Pince called the FBI office in San Juan and let Special 
Agent Louis Vega know that Teresa Gaethe-Leonard had 
been located. Even though it was almost midnight in 
Puerto Rico, Vega said he would contact another agent and 
they would go at once to the Catalina Hospital and see 
what they could find out. 

Vega called Brad Pince back at 3:30 a.m. San Juan time 

127 



ANN RULE 

with a report on Teresa. "She's in custody," Vega said. 
"She's been turned over to the San Juan Police Depart- 
ment, but she's not in any condition to leave the hospital. 
She's being guarded by the police until she's well enough 
to be released to jail." 

Pince checked with hospital personnel, and they said 
Teresa would probably be able to leave in a day or two. 
That turned out to be an underestimate of her condition: 
She got worse before she got better and spent Christmas in 
a hospital bed. 

It was probably better than being in jail. 

Louis Vega checked her hotel suite on December 16. 
There were no suitcases in her room, but he took posses- 
sion of some of Teresa's jewelry pieces. There was a box 
of brown hair dye, a long-distance telephone card, two 
airline luggage tags, and a pocket calendar. The hotel's se- 
curity department had found $325 in cash, and had put it 
in their safe. 

Where were her clothes? Had she thrown them away, 
given them away, or sent them on ahead to her next desti- 
nation? If she had done that, her destination had changed, 
and she had become so morose that she drank and took 
pills until she became comatose. She seemed to have been 
serious — serious enough that she'd blocked the door to 
keep everyone out. 

Until it didn't matter anymore. 

Teresa's defense attorney and the Snohomish County 
detectives located Teresa at almost the same time. 

"The major thing was that we wanted her alive," 
Browne said. "So obviously the best thing to do is keep 
her in custody and keep her alive." 

128 



BUT I TRUSTED YOU 

It certainly seemed the wise choice. Teresa had imbibed 
so much alcohol and sleeping pills that she barely sur- 
vived. Another hour or so, and she probably would have 
been dead. 

Teresa had called Nick Callas from Puerto Rico and the 
Snohomish County investigators were only hours behind 
her when she was found comatose in the Embassy Suites. 
She remained hospitalized for two weeks, and when her 
condition was stable, and doctors thought she would sur- 
vive, barring any unforeseen complications, she was 
moved to a women's prison north of San Juan. 

Pale and thin, Teresa immediately made friends with 
the warden's wife, who felt sorry for her. Teresa wasn't 
like the other women at Vega Alta. She was genteel and 
had lovely manners. When she saw that Teresa couldn't 
stomach the food most prisoners ate, the warden's wife 
cooked special dishes for her and carried them into the 
prison, urging Teresa to eat because she was much too del- 
gada. 

As she always had, Teresa evoked sympathy in both 
men and women, and the warden's wife in Puerto Rico 
doubted that the charges against her back in Washington 
State could be as serious as the FBI said. She visited with 
Teresa and tried to keep her from being homesick. Teresa 
spoke of her little girl and of how much she missed her. 

It was all very sad. 



Deputy Prosecutor Michael Downes hoped that Teresa 
would waive extradition and return to Snohomish County 
without a morass of legal paperwork. John Henry Browne 

129 



ANN RULE 

said he was sure that would not be a problem, and even if 
Teresa did initially refuse to come home, he would urge 
her to waive extradition. 

"You can delay things for months," he said, "but my 
guess is that Teresa won't want to spend a lot of time in a 
Puerto Rican jail." 

Some reporters wrote that John Henry Browne was no 
longer representing Teresa Gaethe-Leonard, in light of her 
escape. His office neither verified nor denied that. 

Although it seems exotic, Puerto Rico is not a foreign 
country but a U.S. commonwealth. Extraditing Teresa to 
the continental United States would be almost automatic 
anyway. However, Snohomish County authorities had to 
prove that the person being held in the women's prison in 
Vega Alta north of San Juan really was Teresa Gaethe- 
Leonard. There was a good chance she might look entirely 
different than her picture on the Wanted bulletins, but it 
was unlikely that she had m^anaged to change her finger- 
prints. A few years later, the advances in DNA matching 
would have simplified everything, but in 1998, it was not 
yet commonly used or accepted as irrefutable evidence. 

Actually, Teresa was quite comfortable in her Puerto 
Rican prison, but she was thousands of miles away from 
Morgan. She put on some of the weight she'd lost, and she 
enjoyed visiting with the warden's wife. But Browne had 
said he believed she would come back to Snohomish 
County without a struggle. Those who knew how adept 
she was at escaping were apprehensive, especially when 
they heard how close she had grown to the warden's wife. 

She plight run again if she got the chance. 

Michael Downes kept hearing conflicting information. 

130 



BUT I TRUSTED YOU 

Teresa was to have an extradition hearing at Hato Rey Su- 
perior Court near San Juan, but that didn't happen. 

There was one good reason for Teresa to waive extradi- 
tion — loyalty to Nick Callas. If she agreed to return to 
Washington State by February 4, 1998, which would be 
exactly sixty days since she hadn't shown up for her court 
hearing, and almost a year since Chuck Leonard died, 
there was a good chance that Nick could get most of his 
half-million-dollar bail money returned. The county would 
deduct the expenses it had in searching for Teresa, and for 
bringing her back, but that was surely better for Callas 
than losing the whole $500,000. 

Even so, it would be expensive, and it might take a very 
long time for Callas 's money to come back to him. The 
cost of tracking the bail jumper would probably be be- 
tween $75,000 and $100,000. 

Teresa's lover had cooperated with the Snohomish 
County authorities and helped them locate Teresa. How he 
felt about her was a moot question. Their relationship had 
lasted eleven years, even after she married Chuck. She had 
to have some kind of emotional hold over him. 

Callas and his wife had finally separated. Any wife 
would have been displeased — if not furious — to have her 
husband pay a huge bail amount for his mistress, an ac- 
cused murderess. And Grace Callas couldn't forgive Nick 
for his years of deception and for "giving away" half a 
million dollars of their money. 



It was time for Teresa to come home. Brad Pince, and De- 
tectives Sally Heth and Susie Johnson boarded an American 

131 



ANN RULE 

Airlines flight at 7:30 a.m. on January 20, 1998, headed for 
Puerto Rico to pick up Teresa Gaethe-Leonard. The next 
morning, they talked to the owners of several small apart- 
ments located above a laundromat in San Juan — the last 
place Teresa had reportedly lived before she checked into 
the Embassy Suites. 

They gave the detectives copies of a rental agreement 
signed by a woman named Carol. Pince showed them a 
booking photo of Teresa Gaethe-Leonard, and the land- 
lords said that was the woman they knew as "Carol." The 
mystery of where her clothes and other belongings were 
was solved; her suitcases, some shoes, and some purses 
had been left at her first small apartment in San Juan. 
Her landlords had boxed up all of her personal posses- 
sions with the help of a local attorney who presented 
them with an official document giving him the right to 
take possession of her things. What part he played in 
Teresa's life was hard to determine. When she got back 
to the continental United States, Teresa would tell a cell 
mate that there was a man in Puerto Rico who was very 
interested in helping her. 

That could very well have been true, except that he 
spoke only Spanish — at least in front of laundromat/apart- 
ment owners. Otherwise, he fit the pattern of the older 
men who doted on her. 

Finding some of Teresa's clothes solved one problem; 
they didn't know what she was going to wear on the plane 
to Seattle. She'd left the hospital in one of their gowns and 
had worn prison garb ever since. 

The Snohomish County detectives then drove to the 
San Juan police station, where Teresa had been moved 

132 



BUT I TRUSTED YOU 

from the prison in Vega Alta. They planned to pick her up 
and leave as soon as possible to return to Everett. When 
they finally savv^ her in person, she did look different. Her 
plastic surgery was subtle, but her forehead was smoother, 
and her nose and chin appeared to have been altered. She 
insisted that she hadn't been trying to disguise herself, but 
had wanted only to look more attractive. 

If that was her real reason, it hadn't worked; she looked 
much plainer than she did in most of her earlier photos. 
She had gained weight with the warden's wife's cooking, 
and her face showed the stress of her circumstances. But it 
was more than that. There was no question that she'd had 
work done on her face by a skilled surgeon. 

Detective Susie Johnson took five photos of Teresa, 
three of them showing healed-over bedsores on her head 
and spine. It was clear she had been unconscious longer 
than any doctor had predicted. 

"That happened when I lay in one position in the hospi- 
tal for fourteen days," Teresa explained. "I got pneumonia, 
too." 

After Teresa was thoroughly searched and the paper- 
work completed, an unmarked San Juan police car drove 
them to the airport where they waited to board a United 
Airlines flight back to Washington State. The Snohomish 
County detectives bought Teresa a sandwich and a soft 
drink from a vendor at the San Juan Airport. 

On the plane, Susie Johnson and Sally Heth sat on ei- 
ther side of her, and Brad Pince sat across the aisle. 

"She was very chatty in the airport and on the plane," 
Heth said, "both to me and Susie Johnson." 

Teresa seemed familiar with the island of Puerto Rico, 

133 



ANN RULE 

and said that Ponce was a much more pleasant city to visit 
than San Juan. Although it was "very corrupt," Teresa said 
that anyone with lots of money could get anything they 
wanted — and faster — in Ponce. "You can get your car 
fixed first," she said, "even if it was last in the line." 

Teresa described Puerto Rico as "the trampoline be- 
tween South America and North America for drug runners." 

Sally Heth wondered if Teresa had been intending to 
bounce on that trampoline into some hiding place in South 
America. 

Teresa was friendly enough on the long flight home. 
She helped her female captors as they worked over cross- 
word puzzles to pass the time. She offered correct sugges- 
tions for words that fit into spaces. They could tell that 
she was an intelligent woman with a large vocabulary and 
excellent social skills. She seemed to accept her capture, 
although she was embarrassed to have to board the planes 
in handcuffs, and she tried to avoid the stares of other 
passengers. 

After a few hours in flight, Heth escorted Teresa to the 
plane's bathroom. While they were there, Teresa confided 
that her brother was a detective somewhere in the Mid- 
west. (It was unclear if she was talking about Frank Jones 
or Lois Jones's husband, although it was probably her 
brother-in-law.) 

Heth hesitated for a moment, and then said, "May I ask 
you a personal question?" 

"Sure." 

"What does your brother think about your situation?" 

Teresa answered somewhat obliquely. "They have it all 
wrong." 

134 



BUT I TRUSTED YOU 

"Who are they?" 

"The newspapers." Teresa was implying that her brother 
had read about her case in the newspapers. "They think 
that I wanted to mn away and live with my boyfriend in 
Hawaii, and that is not true at all." 

The two women — detective and prisoner — agreed that 
the media rarely report the news accurately. Heth didn't 
have to lie to Teresa to say that. The press can sometimes 
be the bane of police investigators' existence. 

"I thought it was more of a domestic situation — " Heth 
said carefully, referring to what had happened between 
Teresa and Chuck. 

"Yeah, John Henry's taking care of things," Teresa said, 
referring to her attorney, and then caught herself "He 
would probably kill me if he knew 1 was talking to you — 
it's not like you're on my side." 

The conversation then ended abruptly. When they re- 
turned to their seats, Teresa turned her back on Heth and 
begin to talk to Detective Johnson on subjects less fraught 
with pitfalls. 

When they landed in Seattle, Pince drove them all to 
the Snohomish County Jail sixty miles north, where they 
booked Teresa. 

They had journeyed to Puerto Rico and back in less 
than forty-eight hours. 



There would be no reunion between Teresa and Morgan, 
who had turned six on December 30, 1997, just before the 
New Year. Morgan was now living with Chuck's sister, her 
aunt Theresa, and her two older cousins in Oregon. She 

135 



ANN RULE 

had spent her first Christmas without her father or her 
mother. There was a strong possibiUty that she would be a 
witness in her mother's trial, and that made meetings be- 
tween them doubtfiil. 

If he could avoid it, John Henry Browne — who was still 
representing Teresa — didn't want to call Morgan to the 
witness stand. She had already been through enough. 

Detectives had taken to calling Theresa Leonard the 
"good Theresa" and their prisoner the "bad Teresa." 
Chuck's sister loved Morgan dearly and was prepared to 
do anything she could to see that the child had a safe and 
happy life. Morgan and Theresa's daughter soon became 
closer than just cousins; despite the gap between their 
ages, they eventually thought of each other as sisters. 

They were gradually achieving some degree of nor- 
malcy. Teresa had sent presents for Morgan before she 
fled; she complained that Morgan had never gotten them, 
but she had. Aunt Theresa was doing her best not to bad- 
mouth the woman whom she believed had murdered her 
brother — not for Teresa's sake but for Morgan's, and for 
Chuck's sake, too. 

Because of her escape, Teresa Gaethe-Leonard had 
once again missed a trial date. A new date was set. She 
was scheduled to go on trial in two months. George Cody, 
the original lawyer who had been there for her right up 
until he discovered her empty apartment, withdrew from 
her case entirely. Cody had no choice; he was now on the 
State's witness list to testify against Teresa. 

Teresa herself was back in the Snohomish County Jail, 
and not likely to be released; her bail was now $5 million, 
and she had no one left who would gamble anywhere near 

136 



BUT I TRUSTED YOU 

that much money on her. She steadfastly clung to her not- 
guilty plea in Chuck's death. 

John Henry Browne was preparing a complicated de- 
fense, made more difficult for him when his client jumped 
bail and disappeared. Still, her behavior whenever she was 
free from a jail cell made his plea believable. Snohomish 
County Superior Court Judge Charles French accepted 
Browne's plea of "innocent by reason of insanity." 

This was a woman who had twice attempted suicide 
with overdoses of drugs and alcohol. Browne had her ex- 
amined by a forensic psychologist who was prepared to 
testify that Teresa was legally insane at the time she killed 
her estranged husband, according to the M'Naughten 
Rule. M'Naughten stipulates that the defendant must be 
incapable of discerning the difference between right and 
wrong at the time of his or her crime. 

Usually, if a suspect plans and prepares for her crime, 
flees from the scene, and makes efforts to cover up evi- 
dence, she can be construed to be aware of the difference 
between right and wrong during that criminal act. Joyce 
Lilly's statements to detectives — four of them at this 
point — indicated that Teresa had planned Chuck's murder, 
even to the point of picking out her "disguise" clothes and 
entering his house on a dry run three months before she 
actually shot him. 

And Teresa had covered up her crime afterward by in- 
sisting that Joyce hide the murder gun, her clothes and 
boots, and the key to Chuck's house. Teresa had even hid- 
den her car in Joyce's garage. 

She seemed to be in her right mind before, during, and 
after she shot Chuck. 

137 



ANN RULE 

But how does anyone know what is going on in some- 
one else's mind at any time? Brains don't have picture 
windows. 

At John Henry Browne's request, Teresa was trans- 
ferred to Western State Hospital for a psychiatric evalua- 
tion. 

Trial dates passed in March, April, and May 1998 and 
either the State or the Defense had reasons to seek delays. 
The prosecution added twenty-eight new witnesses, and 
John Henry Browne was defending another high-profile 
case in Seattle. He argued that he couldn't possible inter- 
view the latest witnesses before trial. If he could not get a 
continuance, he said he would seek a review by the state 
court of appeals. 

At length, a fall date in 1 998 was chosen for Teresa's 
trial. Chuck Leonard had been dead for seventeen months, 
and there had been no justice one way or the other stem- 
ming from his murder. Teresa's psyche was deemed so 
fragile that she had spent many weeks in late spring in 
Western State Hospital, a mental health treatment facility, 
where she was evaluated, tested, and counseled by psy- 
chologists and psychiatrists there. 

She was given an IQ test, but the psychologist adminis- 
trating the test noted that Teresa failed to expand on her 
answers, even when she was urged to do so. She hurried 
through questions, and by the end of the test had stopped 
writing down answers altogether. It wasn't surprising that 
her full-scale IQ was only 83. This put her in about the 
15th percentile, meaning that about 85 percent of people 
who had taken the test scored higher than she did. 

How could that be? A normal IQ (depending on the test 

138 



BUT I TRUSTED YOU 

given) is between 90 and 1 10. To finish a four-year college, 
most students need an IQ of at least 120. How could Teresa 
have managed a busy concierge desk at a large hotel, field- 
ing calls and requests from guests, or taken care of all the 
banking and record keeping at The Consignment Shop if 
her IQ was only 83? For that matter, how could she have 
been so clever when she helped the female detectives fill in 
their crossword puzzle on the flight home from Puerto 
Rico? 

Depression certainly can lower intelligence scores, but 
not to this extent. It seemed possible that Teresa was delib- 
erately trying to appear a lot dumber than she really was. 

With her trial looming in September, Teresa was sent 
once more to Western State Hospital to be sure she was 
capable of participating in her own defense. She would 
remain there until her trial began. 

On September 8, 1998, the doctors at Western State 
Hospital determined that Teresa was competent to stand 
trial. Her day in court had been postponed six times, but 
now it was time. If she was found guilty, Teresa faced a 
minimum of twenty-five years in prison. 

The Defense's original plan had been to show that she 
didn't really know what she was doing when she shot 
Chuck Leonard — ^that she was insane under the law. Grad- 
ually, it had shifted, and with her competency established, 
their new approach was to show a jury that she had cause 
to kill her estranged husband, that almost any mother 
would have done the same. Teresa, they would argue, had 
been protecting her little girl from a sexually abusive fa- 
ther. If so, she very likely had been suffering from post- 
traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). 

139 



ANN RULE 

Although PTSD had become the proper term for the 
stress reaction during the Gulf War, the concept has been 
around for decades, affecting those caught up in events 
"beyond normal human experience." War isn't normal for 
most young soldiers who never expected to shoot to kill. 
PTSD was called "shell shock" in World War I, and "battle 
fatigue" in World War II. It was probably called something 
else in the Civil War and the Revolutionary War. 

There are other events that can be construed as beyond 
normal human experience, and Teresa's defense team be- 
lieved she had suffered through many of them, enough to 
cause her mind to splinter into too many shards to count. 

Teresa told some of her doctors that her father had 
spanked her so hard when she was a child that she had been 
knocked unconscious. She told others that she had only had 
the wind knocked out of her. 

Her sisters agreed to come from Louisiana to testify 
about the sexual abuse in their home when they were 
young. Having endured sexual abuse herself, wouldn't 
Teresa Gaethe-Leonard have been even more horrified to 
believe that her own child was suffering as she had? 

In similar cases across the United States, mothers who 
have shot sex offenders who molested their children have 
either been acquitted or given short sentences. And the 
public — including the jurors — ^had been pulling for them. 
Most would agree that a mother's love is probably the 
most protective and unselfish kind of love. 

The Snohomish County investigators hadn't encoun- 
tered acquaintances of Teresa's who recalled that she was 
concerned about Chuck molesting Morgan. They asked 



140 



BUT I TRUSTED YOU 

friends and relatives of the couple if they recalled any con- 
cern on her part about that. 

Chuck's father and stepmother said that Teresa had 
complained on occasion that she was worried because 
Chuck sometimes left Morgan alone in his house while he 
worked outside in the yard. But they'd never heard about 
any suspected sexual abuse. 

Defense investigators found employees and friends of 
Teresa who recalled that there were times when Morgan 
didn't want to go to her father's house. She told Joyce 
Lilly once that she didn't like him to touch her. That had 
occurred when she wanted to call her mother and he 
wouldn't let her. 

There was an occasion when she left The Consignment 
Shop with Chuck, but had come running back in, saying 
she didn't want to go. That was in one of Joyce's state- 
ments, and it was allegedly the reason Joyce and Teresa 
had given Morgan teddy bears with their phone numbers 
hidden in their pockets, a move instigated by Teresa. 

A woman who had visited Teresa's shop had once seen 
Morgan, age three or four, climbing under clothing racks 
without underpants on. 

Joyce Lilly's recall of Teresa and Chuck's marriage, and 
about the way they treated Morgan, was often one of con- 
fusion. Joyce, who was very modest, questioned Teresa 
about why Morgan was happier without a lot of clothing 
on; the four-year-old often emulated her father, dropping 
coats and shoes fi-om the moment she walked through her 
own — or Joyce's — front door and dancing around happily. 
Teresa had pooh-poohed her concern. 



141 



ANN RULE 

"We're proud of our bodies in my family," Teresa said 
calmly. "We don't believe in false modesty." 

On the other hand. Chuck was so paranoid that Teresa 
might accuse him of something that he had Morgan wear 
her bathing suit when he gave her a bath. 

Chuck's friends were adamant that there were many 
times Morgan hadn't wanted to go to Teresa's house when 
her visit with her father was over. Chuck's own diaries had 
passages that mentioned days when Morgan had clung to 
him and refused to go with Teresa. Separation and divorce 
are hard on children, and both parents were known to in- 
dulge Morgan, possibly to make up for the chaos in her 
young life. 

She was a very intelligent child and, like most children 
of divorce, Morgan caught on quickly that she could play 
one parent against another to get what she wanted. 

Jan, Chuck's friend and neighbor down the block, was 
married by this time and he and his wife, Sandy, often 
babysat for Chuck. Sandy recalled years later, "There is no 
way that little girl was molested. We would have known 
because we spent so much time with her." 

Brad Pince had worked for years investigating sex 
crimes against children, and he sincerely doubted that Mor- 
gan had suflfered abuse. If Teresa had been so concerned 
about it, why hadn't she mentioned molestation in her di- 
vorce filings? Why hadn't she reported it to the authorities? 
And why had she been so casual about having at least one 
male neighbor in her apartment building — whom she 
didn't know well — babysit for Morgan? It didn't add up. 

Moreover, Pince knew it was a favorite fall-back ploy 
that angry estranged wives used in custody wars: when all 

142 



BUT I TRUSTED YOU 

else failed, women were more likely to accuse their exes of 
abusing their children. Of course, it was sometimes true, 
but it was a fist in the belly, a horrible accusation, espe- 
cially when it was made against a dead man who could no 
longer defend himself. 

Now it suddenly popped up at her trial like an ugly toad- 
stool. From what Pince and the other investigators had 
learned about Chuck Leonard, he had indeed had a lively 
sex life— but with adult women, who seemed to understand 
that he was not interested in long-term commitments. 

Chuck idolized his little girl and saw himself as her 
protector. As Morgan grew, detectives had no doubt that 
Chuck would have been the kind of dad who scrutinized 
and intimidated any young suitor who wanted to date her. 

But a child abuser? An incestuous father? Never. 

Teresa's defense stance now was that Chuck was sitting 
up in bed, wide awake, on the night he died and they were 
arguing. She had gone to his house in the early hours of 
the morning, carrying a gun, but only to talk to him about 
her concerns, and he had taunted her about Morgan. Her 
reaction was to shoot him. But all forensic evidence indi- 
cated he had been lying down, sound asleep, when the first 
bullet ripped into him. 



143 



BUT I TRUSTED YOU 




Chuck Leonard was a vital, popular middle-school counselor who 

helped scores of children through their tough teenage problems. 

He had a wide circle of friends and many women were 

attracted to him. {Theresa Leonard Collection) 




Teresa Gaethe was a pretty blonde, always Chuck's preferred 

type, and they met romantically in New Orleans. 

They appeared to be genuinely in love. 



''^ 




.-^^'^^. 



M 



m^H^ 



Chuck and Teresa hit it off so well in New Orleans that he hated to 

leave her behind when his educational conference ended. He wrote 

to her constantly, sending loving cards and flowers from his garden 

in Washington State. And she wrote to him and called him. They 

seemed destined to be together. (Theresa Leonard Collection) 



Js^r ^^ y^f^*' -;.'?> * 



ir:lT-^i^.^^--M 




An airplane view of Chuck Leonard's Lake Goodwin neighborhood. 
It was the ideal place to live. {Police airphoto) 




Chuck Leonard's 
neighbors were also 
friends. His next-door 
neighbor, a doctor, 
lived in the house on 
the left, and the house 
that Chuck built is 
on the right. (Police 
airphoto) 




The lake house thai Chuck Leonard enlarged by digging out the 

foundation. His house, lawn, and garden were his pride and joy, 

and he even had a glass floor in his living room. He invited Teresa 

Gaethe to share it with him. {Theresa Leonard Collection) 



Life was great at first for Chuck and Teresa, although he wasn't 

anxious to get married. She didn't bond nearly as well with 

his friends — especially his friends' wives and fiancees. 

{Theresa Leonard Collection) 






Chuck Leonard smiles at his wedding reception in the lake house, 

but the celebration became a fiasco when Teresa asked her hired 

security guards to throw out one of his former girlfriends. Chuck 

had seen no need for the guards. {Theresa Leonard Collection) 




Despite their disastrous wedding reception, Chuck and Teresa 

looked happy as they began their marriage, lounging on the beach. 

But Chuck had told one of his friends that he had made a 

"terrible mistake." He was determined to make his marriage 

last — if he could. {Theresa Leonard Collection) 




Whatever problems they had in their marriage, both 

Chuck and Teresa loved their daughter, Morgan. 

Chuck was amazed by how much he loved the little 

girl, who came along when he was nearing fifty. 

He would do anything to see that she stayed in his life. 

They both loved the lake he lived on, and Chuck could 

not bear the thought that she would be taken far 

away from him. {Theresa Leonard Collection) 




Teresa had a fairly successful consignment store in Marysville, ■ 
selling high-end clothing and accessories. She painted it pink, and ' 
it attracted both new clients and her former customers from 
the Bon Marche department store. {Police photo) 




I 



Teresa told her former husband that she owned an "exclusive boutique'" 

in Washington State, a description that seems a bit grandiose for the tin> 

frame building. She also worked for a travel agency part-time. 

Later, most of her income came from her millionaire lover. 

{Police photo) 




After Chuck's tragic death, Teresa was asked to give a statement to 

the Snohomish County Sheriff's detectives. She and Chuck had been 

separated for a few years, but they were not legally divorced. 

They also shared custody of Morgan. {Police photo) 




''*'^, 



Teresa was fortunate to have one of Washington State's 

most successful criminal defense attorneys agree to defend her. 

John Henry Browne, however, found that his client's 

bizarre actions made his job difficult. 

(Ann Rule Collection) 





Teresa Gaethe-Leonard before she had plastic surgery. 
(Police photo) 




Teresa after plastic surgery — probably on her nose and chin. 

If she had turned to surgery to change her look, it didn't work; 

she looked almost the same afterward. (Police photo) 



-^^i. 






Detective Brad Pince of the Snohomish County Sheriff's Office was 

in charge of the Chuck Leonard murder investigation. It took him to 

California, Hawaii, and even Puerto Rico, but he gathered enough 

evidence — both physical and circumstantial — to arrest the guilty 

person. It may well be the most memorable case in his long career. 

(Ann Rule Collection) 




Left to right: Snohomish County Detective Jim Scharf and Senior 

Deputy Prosecutor Michael Downes worked with Brad Pince and 

Detective John Padilla to prove that an almost unbelievable motive 

caused the murder of a good man. Downes helped in the entire 

investigative process. (Ann Rule Collection) 




Detective Brad Pince testifies in Teresa Gaethe-Leonard's trial as he 
opens sealed evidence packets. {Theresa Leonard Collection) 




Teresa Gaethe-Leonard in a photo taken after being in the 

Washington State Women's Prison in Purdy for several 
years. Instead of designer clothes, she wears a blue denim 

uniform and a white T-shirt. She threw away what 

could have been a life most women would envy. She has 

not seen her daughter, Morgan, or a picture of her since 

Morgan was about seven. She faces many more years 

of prison, all lost because of her deluded scheme that 

she thought would let her marry a millionaire. 



Chapter Eight 



Teresa Gaethe-Leonard's trial before Superior 
Court Judge Gerald L. Knight promised to include a war 
of the psychiatrists and psychologists. Theirs was far from 
an exact science, and it would be up to the jury to decide 
who to believe. John Henry Browne maintained that Tere- 
sa's mental state had deteriorated markedly since Chuck 
Leonard was killed, and that she no longer had any clear 
memory of the shooting, and that she never planned it. 

He did not dispute that she had, indeed, shot and killed 
Chuck Leonard, and there seemed to be no expectation 
that she could be found innocent — but she could be con- 
victed of lesser offenses, like second-degree murder or 
manslaughter. 

Browne was a master debater, and a genius at planning 
and carrying out defense strategy, but he faced an uphill 
battle. Michael Downes, prosecuting for the State, had an 
abundance of physical evidence to show that Teresa had 
very carefully planned Chuck's murder. 

With a manslaughter conviction, Teresa wouldn't spend 
much time in prison. With premeditation and a first-degree 



145 



ANN RULE 

conviction, she would be in prison until her hair turned 
gray and her face was lined with wrinkles. 

An eleventh-hour request to postpone Teresa's trial once 
again came from Deputy Prosecutor Michael Downes. He 
and his team had been informed that John Henry Browne 
was prepared to argue an additional defense for Teresa — 
battered- woman syndrome. 

Judge Gerald Knight ruled that the trial would go for- 
ward as planned on September 9 and warned Browne not 
to elicit testimony that Teresa was a battered woman. If he 
did. Knight said firmly that he might declare a mistrial. 

Some in the courtroom wondered if Chuck Leonard 
might be considered a "battered man," but they didn't say 
it out loud. 

By the time the State and the Defense teams agreed on 
twelve jurors and two alternate jurors who would step in if 
any of the original dozen should become ill or step down, 
there were eleven women and one man on the jury, with 
two male alternate jurors. 

It was — and is — always difficult to say whether female 
jurors will empathize with a woman defendant. Would 
this jury, perhaps, judge Teresa Gaethe-Leonard more 
harshly because they knew how most normal women 
would react? Would the lone male see Teresa as a fright- 
ened, dependent woman in trouble? No one could say. The 
most important assets good jurors can have is the ability 
to listen icarefully to witnesses from both sides, study the 
physical and circumstantial evidence, and eventually vote 
their consciences. 

What would the eleven women on Teresa's jury think? 
Many of them had children and understood the power of 

146 



BUT I TRUSTED YOU 

mother love. Possibly some of them had had husbands 
who had strayed. There was no way of telling whether they 
would view Teresa as a victim and a heroine or as a hus- 
band-stealing plotter. Jurors' own life experiences and les- 
sons learned cannot be excluded from their decision 
making. 

That may well be a juror's strongest talent. That, and 
the ability to stay awake and listen carefiilly for six or 
seven hours a day. Trials can be exciting, but they can also 
be dry and repetitive. The hours after lunch in a stuffy 
courtroom have put many a juror to sleep. And not a few 
journalists. 

One thing is true of any trial: neither the judge, the at- 
torneys, the gallery, nor the defendant has ever been able 
to read a jury from the expression on their faces or their 
body language. They always surprise you when you talk to 
them after trial. 



For the first time, almost all of the people who had passed 
through Teresa's life walked in and out of a single court- 
room: her sisters Lois and Macie, but not her brother; 
Nick Callas, but not Gary Gaethe; Joyce Lilly, Rick Lilly, 
and George Bowden, Joyce's attorney; Teresa's employees 
at The Consignment Shop, women who had been her "best 
friends" for a while and then been dropped from her life; 
George Cody, Teresa's first attorney; Michelle Conley, 
Chuck's last lover; a dozen or more of Chuck's friends and 
former girlfriends; Theresa Leonard, Chuck's sister; his 
father and stepmother, Fred and Caroline Leonard; Doug 
Butler, Chuck's teacher friend who had found his body; 

•147 



ANN RULE 

his boyhood friend from Bremerton where he grew up; his 
friend who owned a video-rental store; and the detectives 
from Snohomish County who had helped bring Teresa to 
trial: Brad Pince, John Padilla, Jim Scharf, Joe Ward, and 
Rob Palmer. 

The gallery in Judge Knight's courtroom was packed 
almost every day in September and October as the weeks 
of trial unfolded. Teresa's story was like a teleplay script 
for a miniseries, only more shocking because it was real, 
and because it had happened in the town where many in 
the gallery lived. They had followed it during the nineteen 
months since Chuck Leonard was murdered, and wanted 
to know more about what had happened and why. News- 
paper and television coverage had never told them enough. 

That wasn't the reporters' fault; so many details had 
been kept under wraps. Now, the press bench held media 
reporters from all over Washington State. 

It was still warm in mid-September and opening win- 
dows helped lower the stuffiness and heat in the court- 
room, but that created another problem as street noise 
drifted in and made it difficult for the jurors to hear the 
witnesses and attorneys. Sirens from emergency vehicles 
often brought testimony to a halt. 

Senior Deputy Prosecutor Michael Downes asked the 
jurors to raise their hands if they couldn't hear. 

Downes then began his opening remarks, explaining 
the State's case: "The evidence the State will present to 
you will show that at approximately four or five in the 
morning of February 20, of 1997, the defendant drove 
twenty-five miles to her estranged husband's house, that 
she walked into his house, down to his bedroom, shot and 

148 



BUT I TRUSTED YOU 

killed him with a .45 -caliber automatic handgun by shoot- 
ing him three times in the chest area. The fatal wound en- 
tered his chest, went into one of his lungs, and he bled to 
death internally as a result. . . ." 

Michael Downes knew this case so thoroughly that he 
probably could have made his opening statement in his 
sleep, but he glanced occasionally at his notes. The jury 
listened raptly as he described the Leonards' relationship 
at the time Chuck was killed, the "rehearsal" for murder in 
November 1996, and the actual fatal shooting three 
months later. Downes promised to present witnesses to 
Teresa's affair with Nick Callas, and to her plot to find a 
way to give him a baby, even though she knew she could 
not conceive herself. 

"There was a divorce in this case," the prosecutor 
pointed out. "It was filed. The paperwork was filed by the 
defendant. She filled it out. There are various boxes that 
you can check off to indicate whether there are any partic- 
ular problems. And one box of interest is whether there are 
any child abuse-type problems. That was not checked off. 
One box is whether there were physical abuse-type prob- 
lems [against Teresa]. That box was not checked off." 

But these were allegedly the two issues that had moti- 
vated Teresa to kill Chuck. And she hadn't even mentioned 
them when she filed for divorce! 

Downes promised to call to the witness stand two men 
from Teresa's apartment building who would testify that 
she was looking for a .45-caliber handgun in early 1997. 

He told the jurors about Teresa's Hawaiian lover, and 
the $500,000 bail money Nick Callas had wired to the 
Snohomish County Clerk's Office. "Part of the bail order 

149 



ANN RULE 

says, 'Look, if you get released, you got to come back here 
for the hearings.' And the defendant was advised of that 
when the hearings were set — pretrial hearing, trial hear- 
ings, things like that. In September, she was advised that 
she had to be present at a pretrial hearing on December 4, 
1997. And on December 4, everybody showed up for the 
hearing — except for the defendant. She had left the conti- 
nental United States on an American Airlines flight, under 
a false name, having paid cash for the ticket, and flew to 
Puerto Rico." 

Michael Downes told the jury about Teresa's second 
drug overdose in four months, and how Snohomish County 
detectives had gone to Puerto Rico to bring her back. 

Downes said he was prepared to present physical evi- 
dence that would prove the bullets that killed Chuck Leon- 
ard had been fired by the gun that Teresa gave to her 
friend, Joyce Lilly, to hide a few hours after his murder. 
Teresa's sweatpants, also hidden by Joyce, had a splotch of 
blood that tested as being consistent with Chuck's blood, 
and, in the crotch, body fluids that matched Teresa's. 

"You may, during the course of this case, hear evidence 
about a mental defense phrased two different ways. One is 
referred to as 'diminished capacity,' and the other is re- 
ferred to as 'insanity.' " 

Diminished capacity is often the defendant's personal 
choice — in taking drugs, drinking alcohol, or participating 
in other activities that render them temporarily incapable of 
employing their usual decision making. On occasion, it can 
be used when a defendant is developmentally disabled. 
Legal insanity can render them unable to tell the difference 
between right and wrong. But Teresa had planned Chuck's 

150 



BUT I TRUSTED YOU 

murder, and she had also planned her alibi and hidden any 
evidence that might tie her to the homicide. 

She had to have known the difference between right 
and wrong, or she wouldn't have tried so hard to disassoci- 
ate herself from Chuck's death, 

Downes said that Joyce Lilly would testify that, on two 
occasions, Morgan had commented to her that she didn't 
"like the way Daddy touched me." But he also pointed out 
that both times were after Chuck had refused to let Mor- 
gan call her mother. 

"Joyce Lilly did relate that to the defendant, and the de- 
fendant didn't have any particular reaction to it at the time; 
she didn't have any questions to ask Ms. Lilly." 

If Teresa was so horrified at the possibility that her 
daughter had been molested by her ex-husband at that 
time, why hadn't she shown some emotion? Why didn't 
she pursue the subject and ask her friend Joyce exactly 
what Morgan had said? Why didn't she file for sole cus- 
tody? 

John Henry Browne spoke next, laying out the Defense 
approach. He unfolded his tall frame from his chair at the 
Defense table, and he smiled at the jurors. His approach to 
them was folksy, akin to "We're all in this together." 

"This is not an argument," he began. "If anything I say 
sounds like an argument, I'm sure I'll get objected to." 

Browne is very good with jurors, and occasionally an 
irritant to judges and opposing attorneys. He can be senti- 
mental or a fierce fighter for his clients. He now began 
with the part of this tragic case that had affected him the 
most. He hoped that he wouldn't have to call Morgan 
Leonard as a witness. 

151 



ANN RULE 

So did deputy prosecutor Michael Downes. Everyone 
involved with this case felt the same way. 

"This case is about 'Punky,' " Browne told the jury. 
"Punky is Morgan Leonard. She's almost seven years old. 
Shortly before Mr. Leonard's death, these two teddy bears 
[he held them up] were given to Punky by Joyce Lilly and 
Teresa Leonard, and inside each teddy bear was a tele- 
phone number — one for Teresa and one for Joyce." 

Brown explained that Punky had told Joyce that she 
"didn't like the way her daddy touched her, didn't like 
sleeping in bed with Daddy and his girlfriend, didn't 
like sleeping next to the floor, and didn't like the fact that 
Daddy wouldn't let her call Mommy." 

The foundation of the Defense case emerged early. Te- 
resa Gaethe-Leonard was portrayed by her attorney as a 
woman who had survived a brutal childhood with sexual, 
physical, and emotional abuse. To deal with that, Browne 
suggested that Teresa had learned to compartmentalize her 
memories, feelings, and events. 

"Your life is so difficult that you shut it off," he said. 
"You put it into a little box, you put it on the wall, you 
close the door. And unless you get treatment, which Teresa 
did not, it stays in the boxes and it's very hard for it to 
come out." 

Teresa had, Browne said, grown up to marry first to get 
out of her family home, was divorced from her first hus- 
band, and then met Chuck Leonard. Now, the dead victim 
in this case emerged looking like the villain — a cheating 
husband, wife abuser, child abuser, a man who had wanted 
his wife to abort her pregnancy, and as Teresa's attorney 
described him, almost deserving of death. 

152 



BUT I TRUSTED YOU 

Teresa had told John Henry Browne that when she con- 
fronted Chuck in the wee hours of February 20 Chuck was 
awake and sitting up in bed when she arrived. She had ac- 
cused him of sexually touching his daughter. Teresa had 
decided that she wasn't going to let what happened to her 
happen to her daughter. Although she couldn't really recall 
what happened that night, she knew she had gone to 
Chuck's house to confront him — to say: "I know what's 
going on, and she [Morgan] was never coming back to his 
house." 

"That," Browne said, "was the last thing she remembers." 

He had failed to add something important, and now he 
added it. Teresa had recalled something more. "By the 
way, Chuck Leonard said to Teresa, T'm sorry, I'm sorry, 
I'm sorry.' " 

Browne assured the jurors in his opening remarks that 
he would produce psychiatrists and psychologists who 
would testify that Teresa met the criteria of both legal in- 
sanity and diminished capacity. 

And he ended with a description of a woman who no 
longer wanted to live. "Teresa doesn't want to be here. 
Teresa wants to be dead. She's tried that twice now. She 
doesn't want to be here because she views, in her mind — 
the only thing that matters to her in her whok life is Mor- 
gan. And when Teresa talks to you and when she talks to 
me, it's: 'Morgan's dead in my mind. She has to be dead. 
Therefore, I don't want to be alive.' 

"I have faith that the system will work. I have faith that 
you'll — with everything you see and hear — come to the 
right result." 

The jurors filed out for a break. Brad Pince noticed how 

153 



ANN RULE 

emotional and despondent Teresa seemed when they were 
present, but, when they left, she immediately sat up 
straight, and when she turned to smile at her sisters in the 
gallery, there were no tears in her eyes. 

And so it began. Teresa Gaethe-Leonard might be cold- 
hearted, scheming, money-hungry, a duplicitous woman 
who really hated the men she had professed to love and 
used them only as stepping-stones on her way up. There 
would be witnesses to describe her intricate plans to kill 
Chuck Leonard, to obtain a high-caliber weapon and a dis- 
guise, and to draw in her best friend to help cover for her. 

And there would be others who saw her as an ultimate 
victim who had done what she believed she had to do to 
save her child, and done so when she wasn't in her right 
mind. They believed that Teresa had a mission in life, and 
that was to protect Morgan. 



Teresa Gaethe-Leonard was a highly emotional defendant, 
often breaking into sobs. She'd been found competent to 
participate in her own defense and to stand trial, but she 
had spent the weeks before trial at Western State Hospital, 
because the Defense team felt she'd had "a very tough 
time" in the Snohomish County Jail. 

On the fifth day of testimony — September 15 — she was 
more upset than usual. Considering the witnesses, that 
wasn't surprising. On that morning, Michelle Conley — 
Chuck Leonard's last serious lover — took the stand to de- 
scribe the night in November 1996 when someone crept 
into his bedroom. 

That part of Michelle's testimony didn't bother Teresa 

154 



BUT I TRUSTED YOU 

too much, but when John Henry Browne cross-examined 
her, Teresa's whole body tensed. 

"Did you ever see photographs in the house of — naked 
photographs of Chuck and Morgan?" 

"No." 

"Did you see some adult video tapes in the house?" 

"Yes." 

"Approximately how many?" 

"There were several." 

"And you," Browne asked, "as I understand it, just saw 
snippets of one?" 

"Correct." 

"There were times when Morgan spent the night at 
Chuck's house and you were there, right? And you spent 
the night with them, and all thi*ee of you slept in the bed 
together?" 

"Yes." 

"And you told us that you might have had just T-shirts 
on when that happened?" 

"No, we had [all our] clothes on." 

Michelle could not say that she saw Teresa in the car 
she followed that creepy night in November — but she rec- 
ognized the car. 

"When's the last time you saw Morgan?" Browne asked 
suddenly. 

"Day before yesterday." 

Teresa's tormented wail echoed off the courtroom 
walls. She hadn't had any contact with her daughter for 
more than a year. She began crying softly. 

Browne pushed ahead. "You remain close to Morgan, 
don't you?" 

155 



ANN RULE 

"Yes." 

"In fact, Morgan refers to you as her other mommy, 
right?" 

"Yes" 

Judge Knight called a recess. Teresa seemed too upset 
to continue. Her daughter had two mother figures, and 
neither one was her. But Teresa Gaethe-Leonard was an 
accomplished actress who was chameleonlike when she 
dealt with lovers, friends, and sometimes strangers. 

The irony was apparent. Teresa still had a living child, 
and there was always the possibility that she would one 
day regain custody of her. If she were found insane at the 
time of Chuck's murder, she wasn't likely to go to prison; 
she would be sent to Western State Hospital for treatment, 
and it was possible she would be released when she was 
deemed to be in her right mind. 

Michelle Conley had lost the man she loved. Forever. 
But Michelle had always cared about Morgan, and even 
though Chuck was gone, she never thought of abandoning 
his little girl. 

Teresa's life — the life she could have had — was passing 
before her eyes. She may well have been crying for herself 
and no one else. 



That Tuesday in September was going to get harder. Nick 
Callas was scheduled to testify in the State's case against 
his former mistress. 

But it was obvious from the way he looked at Teresa 
that he still cared about her. Romantics might call them 
star-crossed lovers; realists would say their affair was built 

156 



BUT I TRUSTED YOU 

on deceit and lies and was bound to disintegrate into dust. 
Even though Nick's marriage had ended, and Teresa had 
cost him tens of thousands of dollars while they were lov- 
ers, and, technically, $500,000 when she ran to Puerto 
Rico, she still seemed to have a hold over him. 

Answering Michael Downes's questions, the handsome 
Greek real estate entrepreneur said he'd first met Teresa 
eleven years earlier — in 1987 — when she'd come to his 
office on Maui looking for a rental property with a girl- 
friend. 

"Do you see her present?" 

Callas looked at the Defense table, his eyes meeting 
Teresa's. 

"She's sitting right there." 

They sat a dozen feet apart, but it was like a thousand 
miles. Callas said the relationship that began in a busi- 
nesslike manner had soon become romantic, and, in 1987, 
they were together as lovers for a little less than six 
months. 

"Was there something that caused it to end for that 
time?" Downes asked. 

"Yes . . . Teresa left the island." 

That seemed to be the end of that, although Callas said 
they had occasionally talked on the phone, and Teresa had 
sent him cards. He could not recall writing to her. He had 
heard from her again after she moved from New Orleans 
to Washington State in 1989 or 1990. 

"Did you and Teresa Leonard resume your romantic re- 
lationship at some point?" 

"Yes— in March of 1995." 

Teresa had written to Callas even before she moved out 

157 



ANN RULE 

of Chuck's house; they were still married. She had obvi- 
ously wanted another man to jump to before she cut her 
ties with Chuck. 

Even though Callas was married in 1989 and had an 
adopted son, he could not resist seeing Teresa again. He 
sent tickets for both herself and Joyce Lilly, and Joyce had 
watched them kiss within moments after Nick came to the 
condo that first night. It had been eight years since they 
had seen each other. 

Callas testified that after that first meeting, Teresa flew 
to Maui regularly every few months. By June 1995, he had 
begun to send her money — between $1,000 and $1,500 a 
month; he managed that by writing checks on his many 
different condo accounts, staggering them so that there 
were never too many checks from any particular account. 

"Did you and she go other places together?" Downes 
asked. 

"We had three trips together. One was to Jackson Hole, 
Wyoming; one was to Whistler in Canada; and the third 
was to Campbell River, British Columbia." 

They had gone to ski, and their trips lasted six to nine 
days. 

"Who paid for all these trips?" 

"I did." 

Callas estimated his net worth as $2 million, and he 
testified that he had no annual income because everything 
he made was plowed back into-his business. 

"Okay," Downes said. "Was it a struggle for you to pay 
for the defendant's trip to Hawaii. . . . Was it a struggle for 
you to allow her to use a condominium rent-free?" 



158 



BUT I TRUSTED YOU 

"No . . . no." 

'Beyond all the perks Teresa was already receiving 
from Nick, there was one he didn't know about. 

"Are you aware that the defendant had an American 
Express card for her consignment shop with the name 
'Nick Callas' on it?" 

"I wasn't then; I am now." 

Painstakingly, Michael Downes went over a long list of 
checks sent to Teresa by the witness and a list of payments 
made to various American Express cards that Teresa was 
using. Callas estimated that he had talked to Teresa up to 
ten times a day during the two years their affair had 
burned most intensely. Asked by Downes to come up with 
the total number of phone calls the two of them had shared 
over two years, Callas guessed it would be seven thousand 
or more. 

It was time for the noon break, and Nick Callas ap- 
peared relieved to step down from the stand. Still, he would 
have to continue in the afternoon. 

Although his phone records indicated that there had 
been up to five phone calls from Teresa to Callas or from 
him to her on February 20, 1997, Nick Callas didn't re- 
member them. At some point that day or during the next 
few days, Teresa told him that Chuck had died of "pro- 
found trauma " but she didn't go into detail. 

"I interpreted [that] as if there was a collision with a 
tree." Callas testified. "That was my mental image." 

Teresa had told him that Chuck had died suddenly, but 
he had to look on the Internet to find out he had been mur- 
dered, shot three times. When he learned that Chuck had 



159 



ANN RULE 

been murdered and Teresa had been arrested, Callas had 
begun to pay legal expenses for his mistress. He thought 
the initial costs were about $22,000. 

The strain was beginning to show on Nick Callas 's face, 
and it was about to become more intense. State's Exhibits 
No. 1 1 5 and No. 1 16 were the two cards Teresa had given 
to him in midsummer 1997. 

Although they weren't dated, Callas thought Teresa had 
handed them to him in her apartment in Lynnwood, Wash- 
ington. These were the cards his wife had found among 
his business papers. But Downes didn't ask Callas about 
the cards — not yet. 

"Would you say that you were the defendant's best 
friend?" he asked instead. 

'T was certainly one of her best friends, or I felt I was 
one of her best friends, yes." 

"Prior to the time of Chuck Leonard's demise," Mi- 
chael Downes asked, "did the defendant ever tell you that 
he had been physically or sexually abusive to Morgan?" 

"No." 

Odd. If Nick was Teresa's lover and probably her "best 
friend," and she was desperately worried about Morgan's 
safety, why hadn't she confided in him? 

There were so many people she could have told — if it 
was true. But the subject of abuse to Morgan hadn't really 
come up, except obliquely to Joyce Lilly, until Teresa 
needed a good defense. 

Callas answered Downes 's queries about when and how 
he had learned that Teresa had fled in December 1997. 

"I called her cell phone number and received a Spanish- 
speaking default message, and found a cell phone techno- 

160 



BUT I TRUSTED YOU 

logical person who researched it for me. He told me that the 
cell phone had been turned on in Puerto Rico." 

"Had you had some concerns for some time prior to 
this Spanish-speaking message that you might have a 
problem on your hands as it related to your $500,000?" 
Downes asked. 

"Yes. ... It was the end of November — I don't recall any 
specific day — ^when the communication between Teresa and 
me broke down, and I was no longer able to speak with her 
when I wanted to, nor was she calling me frequently. That 
wasn't normal. It also wasn't the arrangement or agreement 
[between us]. At that point, I became concerned." 

Nick Callas testified that he hired an attorney to repre- 
sent his interests regarding the bail money after someone 
told him Teresa had had plastic surgery and her eyes were 
black postoperatively. Teresa's younger sister, Macie, was 
visiting Teresa's home in Everett that November. Nick 
Callas had called her to see how Teresa was, and she men- 
tioned then that Teresa had cut her hair. 

Callas had even contacted George Cody, Teresa's first 
attorney, and asked him if she'd changed her features with 
plastic surgery. Cody was noncommittal. He said he hadn't 
seen Teresa since early November 1997. 

Nor had Nick. 

And then he had tracked her to Puerto Rico, finally re- 
alizing that she had broken her promises to him and left 
him responsible for the huge bail she forfeited. 

John Henry Browne began his cross-examination by 
asking Nick Callas to read aloud portions of the sentimen- 
tal cards Teresa had given him. The witness began, his 
voice filled with emotion: 

161 



ANN RULE 

'"Nick, you give me peace that I've never had. Thank 
you for you.'" 

Callas looked up, tears gUstening in his eyes, and with 
his voice breaking he said, "I don't know if I can do this." 

"Well," Browne said, "take a minute. Wait a minute, 
Nick. Why don't you just read it over to yourself. Is there 
something in that card that indicates — " 

"I haven't finished yet. I'm sorry," Callas said. Tears 
now spilled from his eyes and ran down his cheeks. He 
took a deep breath and started the next sentence: " T know 
I have caused you pain, and I cannot tell you how sorry I 
am for that. The outside world — ' " 

Nick Callas could not continue, and asked if he could 
leave the courtroom to gather his emotions. Judge Knight 
nodded. When he returned, he was able to get through the 
words that Teresa had written, private and personal words 
his wife had read, that now a gallery full of strangers and 
court personnel listened to. He had been touched by those 
two cards and believed that Teresa really was grateful for 
everything he'd done for her — before and after Chuck's 
murder. 

Reading them again tore him up emotionally. 

John Henry Browne asked him about Teresa's overdose 
in August 1997, and Callas recalled that it had happened 
shortly after she was told she could no longer have her 
weekly phone calls to her daughter: "She was expecting 
to, and excited to speak with Morgan on that Wednesday 
and getting prepared for it, and either she made a call to 
set it up or they called her and said she wouldn't be al- 
lowed to speak with Morgan again." 



162 



BUT I TRUSTED YOU 

"Can you tell the . . . jury your understanding of Tere- 
sa's relationship with Morgan?" Browne probed. 

Nick Callas nodded. Even though he had never laid 
eyes on Morgan himself, or, for that matter, seen Teresa 
interact with her child, he had observed Teresa's feelings 
for her. 

"All mothers love their children," he began, "love their 
children, but Teresa loved Morgan in a different way. I re- 
ally don't know how to describe it. It's hard to say that one 
parent can love their daughter or son more than another 
parent, but Teresa's life was dedicated to Morgan . . . one 
hundred percent of the time Teresa does something for 
Morgan without doing something for herself I know that's 
why I sent money to her." 

"Were there ever any discussions between you and Te- 
resa about getting married?" Browne asked. 

"No." 

"Did you have any feeling that Teresa was unhappy 
with the relationship the way it was?" 

"No." 

"Were there any plans for Teresa and Morgan to move 
to Hawaii?" 

"No." 

"Did you have any plans to divorce Grace?" 

"No." 

Callas seemed to have been completely unaware of 
Teresa's plans to come to Hawaii, marry him, arrange to 
give him his own child — even if it took a surrogate 
mother to carry it. With questioning from both Michael 
Downes and John Henry Browne, Nick Callas 's male 



163 



ANN RULE 

parts were discussed in open court. He explained why he 
was completely unable to provide healthy sperm to his 
wife or to any other woman. It was obvious that this was 
information Teresa was hearing for the first time. Shock 
washed across her face, although she quickly masked it. 

Teresa's pie-in-the-sky plans had been just that. There 
was no way she could have had a child with Nick — none 
at all. He believed she was a wonderful, unselfish mother, 
but he had never met Morgan, never seen her beyond a 
photograph. He hadn't known that Teresa was determined 
to marry him. There were so many things he hadn't known 
about her. 

Finally, after hours of torturous testimony, Nick Callas 
was allowed to step down. 

Joyce Lilly testified about the early morning hours of 
February 20. The jury listened avidly as she told them 
what Teresa had said about "whacking" Chuck, her "mur- 
der costume," and how she — Joyce — had been stuck with 
the physical evidence of the murder, right down to the .45 
automatic, the bullets, and the key to Chuck's house. 

She was an emotional witness. It was plain that she 
would rather have been anywhere but in the witness chair, 
still half guilty about betraying her old friend. Even so, 
Joyce had no other choice. 



The question that hung in the air concerned two possible 
witnesses — Teresa Gaethe-Leonard, herself, and Morgan 
"Punky" Leonard. It is almost always unwise for murder 
defendants to take the witness stand. In doing so, they 



164 



BUT I TRUSTED YOU 

open themselves up to cross-examination by the State with 
questions they might not care to answer. 

Although she was a very intelligent little girl, Morgan 
was only six. She had been through so much, and neither 
Michael Downes nor John Henry Browne wanted to bring 
her into this trial. Downes weighed whether he would have 
to do it to assure that Morgan's father received the justice 
he deserved. 

Teresa sobbed at the thought of Morgan testifying, and 
said she would plead guilty before she let that happen. 

In the end, neither mother nor daughter testified. 

There was much discussion about a film Chuck Leonard 
had taken with fraines that showed his daughter. When it 
finally was shown, it was anticlimactic; it turned out to be a 
long, boring home movie with nothing more salacious than 
a tiny girl in a play pool. 

Teresa — along with her sisters who were there to support 
her — cried periodically throughout her three-week trial, 
giving some credence to the Defense contention that she 
was mentally ill and had been insane at the time she shot 
Chuck Leonard. 

Now came the battle of the psychologists and psychia- 
trists. Listening to and evaluating testimony by mental 
health professionals is often supremely frustrating, gener- 
ally because they tend to use terms unfamiliar to laymen 
and even to those with quite a bit of knowledge about 
mental illness and personality disorders. Moreover, they 
often waffle and seem unable to give a straight-out diag- 
nosis. That was certainly true of those who testified at 
Teresa's trial. 



165 



ANN RULE 

None of them appeared to have brought their records 
on Teresa Gaethe-Leonard to court with them. They often 
couldn't recall dates or seemed surprised when they 
learned that some of the things Teresa had told them 
weren't true. 

One psychiatrist estimated that the defendant had un- 
dergone about fifty emotional, intelligence, and sanity 
tests, and seen more psychiatric experts than anyone could 
count. 

Some who testified hadn't seen Teresa in a year or more. 
The trial transcripts show that none of these witnesses 
would say definitively that Teresa had a low IQ or an aver- 
age IQ — even though her test results indicated her score 
was only 83. Nor would any experts say absolutely that she 
was malingering or suffering from real post-traumatic 
stress disorder, or even if her "hallucinations" were actual 
or contrived. 

One psychiatrist — who had seen Teresa for approxi- 
mately six two-hour sessions — testified that she had be- 
come depressed when her marriage faltered in 1 99 1 , and 
that depression reached "clinical proportions" by the fall 
of 1 996 — approximately when Teresa did her dry-run with 
a borrowed gun. 

As this doctor spoke, Teresa bowed her head and 
rocked slightly in her chair. She turned often to look back 
at her sisters in the gallery; they, too, were tearful. 

She had told this psychiatrist that she finally became 
depressed enough to fly off to Puerto Rico because she'd 
received a box containing all the cards and presents — still 
unwrapped — that she'd sent to Morgan at her aunt There- 
sa's address. But that wasn't true; Theresa testified that 

166 



BUT I TRUSTED YOU 

Morgan had opened all the presents and cards, and that 
she still had them and knew her mother had sent them. 

This psychiatrist for the defense said that Teresa had 
only sparse memories of driving to Chuck's house on the 
night he died or of what had happened while she was 
there. He testified that he believed Teresa was psychotic 
at the time she shot Chuck and suffering from acute 
stress. 

That diagnosis, however, seemed at war with Teresa's 
November late-night visit to Chuck's bedroom when she 
was armed with a borrowed gun. One had to wonder if she 
had been insane then, too, regained her sanity, and then 
lost contact with reality once more three months later. 
Both forays had required considerable planning, enough to 
make her low scores on IQ tests and her confiised, "psy- 
chotic" state questionable. 

After final arguments on Tuesday, September 29, 1998, 
where Michael Downes described Teresa as a calculating 
killer who shot Chuck Leonard so she could marry her 
wealthy lover, and John Henry Browne called her a fi-ag- 
ile, abused woman who was desperately trying to protect 
her daughter, it was almost time for Teresa's jury to retire 
to deliberate. 

Neither the State nor the Defense spared the details of 
Chuck Leonard's gruesome and bloody death. He had 
lived long enough to chase Teresa up the ship staircase and 
even managed to grab her ankle with his last ounce of 
strength. 

John Henry Browne pointed out that the evidence 
wasn't in the three bullets Teresa had fired nineteen months 
before, but in the four she didn't fire. He suggested that if 

167 



ANN RULE 

Teresa had truly intended to kill Chuck, she would have 
shot at him again at that time. 

But she didn't. 

Chuck was already a dead man walking, but Browne 
didn't say that. 

Had Teresa planned the murder of her estranged hus- 
band and her escape to Puerto Rico methodically — right 
down to her plastic surgery? She'd told her attorney that 
she had facial surgery not so she would look different but 
because she didn't want to look like her mother, who had 
caused her much pain when she was a child. This was the 
same mother she once said she loved dearly and joined in 
Texas for a vacation every year. 

Prosecutor Michael Downes reminded jurors that Te- 
resa had been consumed by her desire to move to Hawaii 
to marry Nick Callas, and that Chuck Leonard was in her 
way. She had planned her crime, even to the point that she 
told Joyce Lilly "that she was going to 'whack Chuck 
tonight.' " 

The Defense position that Chuck was molesting their 
daughter hadn't come up until a very long time — months — 
later. 

The jurors wouldn't hear of all the lies and variations of 
the truth that Teresa had practiced in her life; it would be 
impossible to take all the little threads left dangling and 
crochet them into a recognizable pattern. Indeed, no one 
really knew how many lies, con games, and self-serving 
statements Teresa might have employed for years. It would 
be akin to counting pennies in a gallon jar. 

As Browne finished his final arguments, he looked at 
Teresa, who sat with her head bowed, staring at a small 

168 



BUT I TRUSTED YOU 

picture of Morgan, which was propped against a box of 
tissues out of the jury's view. 

In a bit of courtroom drama, he glanced at her and said, 
"Teresa, Morgan knows. She knows what you did and why 
you did it. Do you understand that?" 

Teresa didn't look up. 

The rule of thumb in trials is generally that the longer 
the jury stays out deliberating, the more likely they are to 
acquit. A rapid decision usually means a guilty verdict. 
But it isn't carved in stone. Teresa was charged with both 
first-degree murder and bail jumping. 

In less than three hours, the foreman signaled that the 
jury had a verdict. When the principals and the gallery had 
all gathered in the courtroom, the jury foreman handed the 
verdict to the bailiff. 

There was a hush in the room, as the bailiff unfolded 
the paper with the jury's decision on it. 

"We, the jury, find Teresa Gaethe Leonard . . . guilty of 
murder in the first degree." 

They had also found her guilty on the second, lesser 
charge of bail jumping. 

One of Chuck's friends let out a muffled sigh of relief. 
Theresa Leonard, his sister, began to cry quietly. Teresa 
Gaethe-Leonard herself sat still as a stone, her spine 
straight, and then dabbed at her eyes with a tissue. Her at- 
torneys seemed more shaken than she was. 

And so did the jurors who filed out rapidly, waving 
away reporters. Some stopped to light cigarettes. Others 
hurried to their cars. 

Sentencing was set for October 16, but that would be 
postponed until Wednesday, November 25. Once again, 

169 



ANN RULE 

the holiday season was bleak for Teresa, all because of 
her own doing. In November 1996, Teresa had put on her 
"camouflage" clothing and gone to Chuck's house to 
shoot him, but been put off because Michelle Conley was 
with him. In November 1997, she underwent plastic sur- 
gery and stole her friend's ID as she prepared to fly to 
Puerto Rico, and now, as Thanksgiving and Christmas 
decorations appeared in the Snohomish County Court- 
house, she would hear her sentence as a convicted mur- 
deress. 

Teresa had walked into the courtroom between her two 
tall attorneys, and that made her seem even more frail and 
diminutive. She had always hated to wear handcuffs, and 
she asked to have them removed before she entered the 
room, but her guards refused. She was both an escape and 
a suicide risk. The gallery was full to bursting as curious 
onlookers made room for just one more person on the long 
benches. 

Several of the people impacted by Chuck's death would 
probably speak; the attorneys would speak, and perhaps 
even Teresa would make a statement before Judge Gerald 
Knight handed down the sentence. 

According to Washington State statute, Teresa's sen- 
tencing range would be between twenty-six and thirty-four 
years in prison. Prosecutor Michael Downes requested 
that she receive a sentence at the high end of the range, 
and her defense attorney, John Henry Browne, asked for a 
twenty-five-year term, saying, "Truth generally lies be- 
tween the extremes." 

Theresa Leonard, who now had permanent custody of 



170 



BUT I TRUSTED YOU 

Morgan, attempted to explain the tremendous loss her 
brother's murder was for her family. Most of all, it was dif- 
ficult to explain to six-year-old Morgan. 

"She's grieving the loss of both her father and her 
mother," Theresa said. "Chuck was many things to many 
people. He drove fast, played hard, and loved many. No 
doubt he loved blondes. [But] he never pulled any punches 
with kids. He was direct and honest with them. He loved 
Morgan without reservation." 

Teresa stood before Judge Knight, speaking in his 
courtroom for the first time. 

"I wrote this probably fifty-five times, trying to make it 
short so you would listen," she began, but as she went on 
she became increasingly emotional. "A mother's basic in- 
stinct is to protect her child, which was my motivating ac- 
tion. . . . Punky, I kept my promise to you that you would 
not suffer through a family life like my own." 

It was time for Judge Knight to pronounce sentence 
and to make any remarks he might have. During a trial, no 
one knows what the judge is thinking any more than he or 
she can read jurors' minds. This was the moment when 
Judge Gerald Knight could voice his opinion. 

"I do not believe that Mr. Leonard abused his' daugh- 
ter," Judge Knight said firmly. He told Teresa that it didn't 
matter what she might have believed about that, her deci- 
sion to act as "judge, jury, and executioner" had ended in 
miserable tragedy for many people. She had left her child 
a virtual orphan without either parent. 

Judge Knight then sentenced Teresa Gaethe-Leonard to 
thirty years in prison. 



171 



ANN RULE 
* * * 

On December 3, 1998, Teresa entered the Washington 
State prison system. She was incarcerated at the Washing- 
ton Corrections Center for Women in Purdy. She joined a 
roster of infamous female felons, such as Diane Downs, 
Mary Kay Letourneau, and Christine Marler. Teresa's ear- 
liest release date is July 29, 2023, and her maximum expi- 
ration of sentence is November 11, 2027. In either case, 
she will be over sixty when she walks out of prison. Even 
then, she will have to have two years of monitored com- 
munity placement before she is completely free. 

Teresa's plan is to move back to New Orleans and join 
her sister Lois. 

Teresa has been a relatively cooperative prisoner, al- 
though she was reported for having intimate contact with 
another female prisoner when correction officers found 
them kissing. 

Teresa's sisters have stood by her, sending her mail- 
order items of clothing, underwear, makeup, and maga- 
zines. She has been assigned to work with guide and 
service dogs, and that has brought her some serenity. 

Does Nick Callas write to Teresa while she is in prison? 
I honestly don't know. His real estate business is booming 
and he is doing well. As for his personal life, that has 
faded from the public eye. 

Teresa has no contact at all with her daughter, Morgan, 
who is now seventeen and just graduated from high 
school. She has never asked to see photographs of Mor- 
gan, although she could have if she had gone through 
Morgan's counselor. 

172 



BUT I TRUSTED YOU 

Morgan had three years of therapy right after Chuck's 
death to help her deal with her losses. She was very fragile 
and had nightmares, mostly about her mother. It took her 
nearly a year to begin to accept that "my mommy killed 
my daddy." Sometimes she had good dreams where she 
woke up saying she felt "Daddy hugging me." 

Today, Morgan is a bright, talented teenager who shares 
a special bond with her aunt Theresa, and Theresa's daugh- 
ter, her "sister." She has also met her older half-sister and 
has a warm secure family to replace the one she lost. 

When asked if she wanted to have a different name in 
this book to protect her privacy, she said no. She wants the 
truth to be told, and that includes her name. Soon, she will 
be on her way to college. 

Morgan, like Chuck, loves kittens and cats. She still has 
the cat her dad gave her in October 1996, and the Leo- 
nards have four more cats, bringing the number of feline 
pets to the same number Chuck had. They talk about 
Chuck openly and tell funny stories. Morgan wears his old 
sweaters around the house and keeps his photographs 
prominent in her life. 

Throughout high school, Morgan has played varsity la- 
crosse, and was one of their star players. 

Her father would be proud of Morgan. Just as she is 
proud of him. 



173 



DEATH IN 
PARADISE: 

THE HAUNTING 

VOYAGE OF THE 

SPELLBOUND 



The sea is a cruel mistress. From time immemorial, 
men have tried to tame her, believing that their strength 
and intelligence can fool her capriciousness. There is a 
fascination — even a mystique — inherent in the endless 
miles of water one envisions when the last harbor is left 
behind. Our oceans are both beautiful and deadly, as heed- 
less as any woman who alternately beckons and taunts a 
man. Although we can chart her tides to the moment and 
the fathom, no human can ever know when wild winds 
will whip the oceans of the world into a froth of ftiry. 

Women waiting for their seagoing men to come home 
once paced the widow's walks atop their Victorian man- 
sions, praying that their husbands and lovers would return 
safely to them. The more fortunate of those women would 
have them in their arms and beds again, but some inexpli- 
cable things can happen to a man at sea. He may disappear 
or go mad, or change in ways that no one could predict. 

Many modem women choose not to wait; they go along 
on the wide- water journeys, experienced and proficient in 
handling the wheel and adjusting mainsails, jibs, and spin- 
nakers. Jody Edwards was one of these modem women. 

177 



ANN RULE 

Where her husband, Loren, went, Jody went, too. They 
were a love match, perfectly suited to one another. 

They were not each other's first loves — but they were 
their last. Jody was about five feet, three inches tall, a 
bouncy brunette. Loren was tall and spare, but tightly 
muscled. Although his hair would turn iron gray, he con- 
tinued to wear it in a crew cut. His skin was usually sun- 
tanned to a dark toast color. 

Loren was handsome in a Gary Cooper/John Wayne 
kind of way, masculine but not a pretty boy. He was born 
on November 24, 1927, in Tekoa, Whitman County, close 
to the Idaho state line on the sunny side of Washington. He 
was the youngest of three children. His parents — Ira and 
Ruby — struggled to wrest a living out of the community 
that counted on its wheat fields and pine forests, but by 
1934, the Great Depression was at its lowest ebb. Loren 
was seven when Ira moved his family to Seattle, where 
there were more jobs than in Tekoa or Pine City. Not 
many, and the pay wasn't good — but it was an improve- 
ment. 

The Second World War brought an end to the depres- 
sion, but it also cost many young Americans' lives. Loren 
graduated from Roosevelt High School in Seattle in 1946, 
and he was safe from the war, which had ended the prior 
August. He joined the army and worked in the Signal 
Corps in Alaska. When he was mustered out, he entered 
the University of Washington's School of Forestry under 
the GI Bill. 

He tried to get his bachelor's degree, but he had a wife 
by then and two young sons. With working and studying 



178 



DEATH IN PARADISE 

and spending time with his family, Loren couldn't keep up 
and he dropped out before graduating. 

He followed his interest and his talents and became a 
master carpenter and then a contractor, a profession he 
would work in for a quarter of a century. 

Loren Edwards, who grew up in the rolling hills of the 
Palouse where thousands of acres of golden wheat thrived 
in the heat, had always been fascinated with boats of all 
kinds. When he was nine, he built a seaworthy kayak in 
the family garage. His dream was always to have his own 
boat, and when he got that, to have a larger craft. 

Jody Feet grew up on the rainy side of the Cascade 
Mountain Range in the tiny hamlet of Preston. Preston is 
little more than a wide spot in the readjust off 1-90 as that 
fi*eeway traverses the foothills of Snoqualmie Pass. Even 
those who regularly cross the steadily steeper pass on their 
way to Spokane and other eastern cities of Washington 
State are often unfamiliar with Preston. Unless they have 
business there, they are more likely to stop for lunch in Is- 
saquah or North Bend. 

Jody attended her lower grades in the small school in 
Preston and, later on, rode the school bus to Issaquah High 
School. With her dark hair and dimples, she was very 
pretty. 

As young marrieds, Loren and Jody had known each 
other when they were part of the same loosely connected 
social group. Jody was married to Bob Peet then, and 
pregnant with her second child at the age of nineteen. The 
Peets' future stretched out ahead with no real problems in 
sight. 



179 



ANN RULE 

That all ended tragically when Bob Peet died in an au- 
tomobile accident in 1954. Her family feared for Jody, but 
she struggled to overcome her loss and provide a home for 
her children. 

And then Loren Edwards and his first wife divorced. 
He became reacquainted with Jody Peet, and to everyone's 
delighted surprise, they fell in love. They were married in 
1956. Jody stayed home with their blended family, and 
Loren 's career as a contractor continued to succeed. He 
built a home for Jody's parents, and she volunteered for 
the Red Cross and for support groups that helped handi- 
capped children. 

Both Jody and Loren were devoted to their parents — 
and to each other's. Loren was particularly close to his 
father, Ira. Ira had gotten his family through bard times in 
a government job, and he wasn't nearly ready to retire, not 
even when he was seventy-four. He simply started a new 
career in real estate. 

Jody and Loren 's marriage was one of deep love and 
many shared interests. Jody loved boating almost as much 
as Loren did, and they graduated from kayaks and canoes 
to small powerboats. They joined a platoon of people with 
outboard cruisers who responded to a Seattle radio sta- 
tion's promotion and traveled to Alaska and back. It 
wasn't luxurious onboard living, but they had a great 
time. 

Seattle seems to drift in the middle of water, and there 
are probably more boat owners there than in almost any 
other city in America. Some feel adventurous just to cast 
off their anchors in Lake Washington, while others ven- 
ture out into Elliott Bay and Puget Sound and head to the 

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DEATH IN PARADISE 

San Juan Islands to the north or to the Pacific Ocean. 
Simply finding a place to dock a boat in the winter 
months is daunting; there is a long waiting list for every 
slip along every dock. 

Jody and Loren Edwards shared a very ambitious dream: 
they wanted to build a magnificent sailboat, one they could 
sail on the high seas, a craft so powerftil and perfect that it 
would be almost impervious to storms with driving winds. 
It was the midseventies, and their children were grown and 
doing well. They had saved their money and built up equity 
in a series of boats, so they finally felt ready to build a fifty- 
four-foot ketch. It would take years, and intensive labor on 
their part, but they were prepared to sacrifice whatever 
luxury they needed to. 

The Edwardses weren't rich, and this was a rich man's 
boat. In the seventies, even with their doing much of the 
work themselves, it would cost well over $100,000. Today, 
it would be a million-dollar craft. They lived in a modest 
home in Preston, but that didn't matter to them. Their ulti- 
mate home would be at sea. 

They named their ketch before it ever existed. The 
perfect name — Spellbound — was magical, mysterious, and 
what they considered the best appellation for the craft that 
was to be the result of their consuming passion. 

Because they were confident in their ability to create 
the Spellbound, the Edwardses quickly signed up for a slip 
on the waiting list of the Kirkland municipal dock in the 
Marina Park there. They knew it would take a year or more 
before their names came up. 



181 



ANN RULE 

Peyton Whitely worked as a popular reporter at the Seattle 
Times for forty-one years, often covering criminal cases. 
He was a superb researcher and a gifted writer. He was 
also a boat fancier, and he docked his boat at the Marina 
Park in Kirkland. He met Loren and Jody Edwards when 
they became his neighbors on the dock. They weren't 
close friends, but they nodded and waved, and he admired 
their yellow-hulled fiberglass ketch. Loren 's skill and ex- 
perience as a builder were evident. The Edwardses had 
lovingly varnished and rubbed the wooden parts of the 
boat, and every mitered comer was precise. The lamps and 
compass were girabaled so that they would remain upright 
no matter how waves might toss and turn the craft. There 
was a ship-to-shore radio system. 

Many people dream of an exotic cruise in a flawless 
sailboat, but the couple with the yellow-hulled ketch were 
actually going to do it. They were more than halfway there 
as they christened the Spellbound. She would soon be able 
to carry a good-size crew and a number of passengers. 



It was August 1977 when Loren and Jody embarked on 
their extended cruise to the South Pacific. They had a crew 
that was mostly "homegrown": their daughter, Kerry, 
twenty, and her friend Lori Huey, twenty-one, and they 
planned to pick up Loren 's son Gary — one of his sons 
from his first marriage — in Southern California. 

This was meant to be a voyage to paradise, and it was. . . 
for a while. The Spellbound was seaworthy and proud, and 
they encountered no problems as they sailed a leisurely 
course off the coasts of Washington, Oregon, and then 

182 



DEATH IN PARADISE 

California, bound for San Diego. The winds grew warmer 
and every day was a vacation, with the four on board taking 
turns at the wheel. 

It was September 16 when Gary Edwards, twenty- 
seven, prepared to leave for San Diego and meet up with 
his stepmother, father, stepsister, and her friend Lori. Gary 
was very strong and familiar with sailing, and he would be 
an asset to help crew the ketch. 

Gary worried his California girlfriend when he told her 
of the danger of pirates and smugglers off the Mexican 
coast. She had been concerned about storms at sea and 
shipwrecks, but she thought pirates had been gone for a 
hundred years. 

Still, Gary Edwards was right about that danger. 
Although foreign waters weren't as bristling with pirates 
and smugglers in the seventies as they would be in the 
first decade of the current century, they were something 
to consider. Gary Edwards felt there had to be some basis 
to the rumors he had heard. 

Gary showed his girlfriend a handgun he had purchased 
to afford his family extra protection if they were attacked 
at sea. It was a menacing-looking weapon — a Walther 
PPK/S .380-caliber automatic pistol. The gun held seven 
rounds, Gary explained, and it was very accurate. It was 
heavy— weighing almost a pound and a half 

He tucked it into his seabag, confident that he could 
fight off pirates if they should attack his father's boat. 

The magnificent journey began with a jubilant crew 
They planned to be at sea for three years, with stopovers at 
exotic ports of call. They sailed serenely through Mexican 
waters without ever meeting pirate ships and were soon in 

183 



ANN RULE 

the Pacific Ocean. The Edwardses had planned their jour- 
ney carefully and thoroughly, with long-lasting provisions 
stored away. They could catch fish and buy fi*esh local pro- 
duce and groceries whenever they landed somewhere big 
enough to have a store. 

The Edwards family headed out to one of the most tan- 
talizing and enchanting ports of call: Tahiti. There are 
thirty-five islands and eighty-three coral atolls in French 
Polynesia, but the total land there is only about 3,500 
square kilometers. Located midway between Australia and 
South America, these South Pacific islands seem almost as 
mythical as Brigadoon. There are volcanoes, silky sand, 
and aqua lagoons, and the air smells of tropical flowers: 
bougainvillea, firangipani, ginger, jasmine, Chinese and 
Polynesian hibiscus, and the national flower tiare Tahiti, a 
type of gardenia. 

The first Polynesians had arrived on the islands by 800 
A.D. Many, many famous visitors came later. In the late 
1880s, the Tahitians accepted the offer to be a protectorate 
of France. The islands were a natural draw for writers and 
artists, the perfect ambiance where one could escape from 
the world and create a masterpiece. 

French artist Paul Gauguin settled on the island of Hiva 
Oa in the Marquesas in 1 891 , and in the dozen years before 
his death there, his brightly hued paintings of sultry, dark-^ 
eyed native women and the flora and fauna in Tahiti made 
that far-off paradise familiar to people all over the world. 

Sometimes, the Edwards family had to pinch them- 
selves when they realized that they would actually arrive 
in Papeete soon. They planned to shop at the morning 
market on the territory's largest island and drive the 

184 



DEATH IN PARADISE 

117-kilometer road that circled Tahiti, where visitors 
could view monuments and museums, beaches, waterfalls, 
cliffs, and temple ruins. 

Seattle was so far away. Another world. 

One day, they would go home, filled with enough mem- 
ories to last a lifetime. They didn't even think about the 
more mundane practices that separated the Emerald City 
in Washington State and the lushly beautiful tropical is- 
lands. The islands' legal system alone was quite different. 
Whatever crimes that might occur in Tahiti would be han- 
dled by French law enforcement officers, and the law itself 
was different in Tahiti, and in France. 

But the Edwardses had no reason to expect anything 
bad to happen to them. Aside from a little seasickness, and 
the kind of minor arguments all families have when they 
are together in a small space for too long, the voyage had 
been everything they could have hoped for. 

Loren had charted the weather carefully, so they were 
aware that they wouldn't be docking in the best of weather. 
Summer in Tahiti runs from November to April, and the air 
is hot and cloying, heavy with humidity. And then the trade 
winds blow from May to August. 

The Edwardses would be landing six weeks into the 
hurricane season, but Loren assured them the Spellbound 
could take hurricane-force winds and blinding rain. He 
had designed the craft to withstand such storms. 



By the middle of February 1978, the Spellbound was 
within a few hundred miles of Tahiti. It had been a won- 
derful trip so far. 

185 



ANN RULE 

And then, suddenly, the Edwardses' fortunes changed. 

They received an emergency message patched forward 
by several ham-radio operators. Loren's beloved father, 
Ira, seventy-nine, was in a Seattle hospital in critical con- 
dition. He had been fine when they left Seattle, but now he 
had been diagnosed with terminal cancer in its very late 
stages. He might survive for a few months, weeks, or just 
days. 

Any thought of continuing on their cruise as planned 
was abandoned. They had to get to Papeete. With its popu- 
lation of 70,000, it had an aiiport. Loren would disembark 
there and catch the first plane for the United States that he 
could. The rest of the crew would stay in Papeete until 
they could head for home, or until Loren rejoined them. 
Gary could sail the Spellbound, and Jody, Kerry, and Lori 
would be enough crew. 

Fortunately, the weather was good, and there were no 
reports of hurricanes in the area. They kept a constant 
pace toward Papeete. The wind blew five to seven knots, 
and they agreed not to sink the anchor at all. Each crew 
member would have two hours at the helm, eight hours 
off. They were racing against death. They could not make 
the wind blow harder, but they were making steady prog- 
ress. 



No one heard from the Edwards crew for almost ten days. 
Then, on February 25, the captain of a charter boat 
moored on the island of Rangiroa in French Polynesia 
monitored a weak emergency radio signal. He finally 
determined it concerned a sailing ship called the Spell- 

186 



DEATH IN PARADISE 

bound somewhere near Rangiroa. It was coming through a 
ham-radio operator in Los Angeles. The charter-boat cap- 
tain could not determine exactly what was wrong, only 
that the ship was in trouble of some kind. 

The charter boat notified authorities and set out to find 
the mysterious boat in distress. After several hours, they 
came upon a yellow-hulled sailboat drifting aimlessly 
sixty miles out at sea. 

Four rescuers climbed aboard. They had been told that 
a captain and four crew members were supposed to be on 
board. But that was no longer true. 

There were only three people on the sailboat — all of 
whom appeared to be in shock. The lone man identified 
himself as Gary Edwards and said the two women were 
his stepsister, Kerry, and her friend Lori. 

One of Gary Edwards's wrists was grotesquely swollen 
and looked to be broken. Kerry Edwards appeared to have 
a severe head injury. She had deep cuts over her right eye, 
which was blackened. Lori Huey said she wasn't injured. 

And yet no one knew exactly what had happened to 
them. Was it possible that Gary Edwards's fear of pirates 
had come true? And where were his parents? 

"They're dead," Gary said. "We buried them at sea — 
somewhere off Rangiroa." 

Asked how the couple had died, the three survivors all 
seem.ed confused. That was, perhaps, to be expected. 
Adrift at sea in a strange place, losing the two people who 
knew the most about how the ship ran and who were the 
parents of two of the survivors, it was no wonder they 
were stunned and bewildered. 

The first order of business for the rescuers was to find 

187 



ANN RULE 

medical treatment for the injured. The chance of locating . 
the elder Edwardses' bodies in the deep ocean was minus- 
cule. There were sharks in the water, which brought horri- 
ble images to mind. That would all have to be sorted out 
later, if it was even possible. 

The Spellbound, completely undamaged, was sailed 
into Rangiroa. Kerry was found to have a fractured skull, 
and Gary had his broken wrist set and cast in plaster. Lori 
hovered close by her friend, while the three who had 
emerged alive from the death ship waited to talk to au- 
thorities. 



It would be difficult to say who had jurisdiction over the 
investigation. Coverage overlapped, and several agencies 
might step in. The French police were in Papeete, 300 
miles away. The U.S. Coast Guard might be involved, and 
perhaps the FBI. As a rule, a criminal offense on the high 
seas is not under any U.S. jurisdiction. Despite the num- 
ber of bizarre deaths that have proliferated on cruise 
ships at sea in the last few years, not many mysteries 
have been solved. 

As I write this, a television news broadcast headlines the 
story of a thirty-nine-year-old man who either leapt — or 
was pushed — from a Norwegian luxury cruise liner in the 
Bahamas. The captain ordered a 590-square-mile search of 
the rough water, but they gave up when they found no sign 
of him at all. 

A few years ago, an elderly man was reported by his wife 
to have left the ship; a bridegroom vanished — with a pool 
of blood on the deck beneath his porthole; and his bride was 

188 



DEATH IN PARADISE 

strangely unemotional. A beautiful young woman, whose 
parents were frantic when she didn't comx back to their 
quarters after a night of dancing, never returned. 

These stories v/ere all in the top of the news for a few 
weeks, and then they disappeared, explained away by 
drunkenness, suicide, accidental falls from upper decks. 

The public looks at the most likely suspects in cases of 
shipboard disappearance and violent death with misgiv- 
ings, but any arrest is extremely rare. For some reason, 
unexplained deaths at sea don't get the attention that 
stateside crimes do. At least not until the recent U.S. hos- 
tages taken by pirates in the Indian Ocean when the whole 
nation watched, breath held, as the captain of the con- 
tainer ship — the Maersk Alabama, with twenty Americans 
on board — was finally rescued, his captors killed instantly 
by American sharpshooters. Pirate attacks on Nonvegian 
and Canadian ships followed within a week. 

As for crimes in the sea off the South Pacific islands in 
the late seventies, U.S. authorities agreed to step in in only 
three instances: when arrests had been made; when the home 
residences of those involved v/ere in the United States; or on 
direct orders to intervene from Washington, D.C. 

Because Loren and Jody Edwards were American citi- 
zens whose usual residence was in Washington State, FBI 
special agents would ask some penetrating questions. But 
would they go further than that? 



What could have happened? 

And why had both Loren and Jody perished at sea? The 
first reports that seemed to have any substance, after being 

189 



ANN RULE 

filtered through the morass of rumors, came from the 
ham-radio operator in Los Angeles who had picked up the 
Spellbound's distress call and sent rescuers to the ship. 
He was thousands of miles away, but somehow the cry for 
help had come to him, rather than to anyone in the South 
Seas. He had taken a personal interest in the crew, and he 
met Kerry Edwards and Lori Huey on March 1 when they 
came through the LAX airport to change planes for 
Seattle. He saw them safely through the bustling airport to 
the correct departure gate, and talked with them until they 
boarded. 

Kerry told him that she and her father had been in the 
cockpit of the ship at about four in the morning on Febru- 
ary 24. "We were working there," she said, "and suddenly 
the boom came loose." 

(The boom is an extremely heavy horizontal pole 
along the bottom of both a fore and aft rigged sail. It 
helps to control the angle and shape of the sails, and 
serves as an attachment point for more complicated con- 
trol lines. During some sailing maneuvers, the boom 
swings rapidly from one side of a boat to the other, and 
sailors have to be extremely careful that their heads are 
out of its path. If they don't duck, the boom's impact is 
always dangerous.) 

"Somehow, it got loose," Kerry said faintly, "but I don't 
remember much else." 

She was quite sure that she had been struck on her 
head, and that the boom had dealt her father a fatal blow 
when it hit him. Although her memory was fuzzy, she 
believed that her mother, Gary, and Lori were below decks 



190 



DEATH IN PARADISE 

at the time. She didn't think they had witnessed the fatal 
accident. 

When Jody Edwards learned that her husband had 
died from being hit by the out-of-control boom, she was 
wild with grief. Loren was her world, and he had been 
her beloved companion for twenty-two years. She couldn't 
believe he was gone. 

Since Kerry was so badly injured, and Gary had to be at 
the wheel, Lori Huey stayed up all that endless Friday 
night, trying in vain to comfort Jody. Jody couldn't under- 
stand why someone with Loren 's skill as a sailor would 
ever get in the way of a swinging boom. 

The next morning, Jody finally fell into a fitful sleep. 
The others hoped she could stay asleep for hours because 
she was totally exhausted and in deep shock. 

But that didn't happen. While they thought Jody was 
sleeping, Kerry, Lori, and Gary were working in another 
location on the ship. Suddenly, they heard a single shot 
sound belowdecks. 

They rushed to Jody's bunk, meeting there at the same 
time. 

They were horrified to find that Jody had taken her own 
life. Kerry trembled as she described to the Los Angeles 
radio operator the shock at finding her mother shot to death. 

The three survivors talked for hours about what they 
should do. Should they keep the elder Edwardses' bodies 
on board, hoping they would be able to land soon? Or 
should they let the sea embrace them? The weather was 
warm, and they had to face the fact that their remains 
would begin to decompose. 



191 



ANN RULE 

Finally, they voted to bury them at sea. They wrapped 
Loren and Jody in heavy chains, and committed them to 
the ocean that both of them had loved. 

Kerry told the man who had saved them from so many 
miles away that she and Lori had sensed that the police in 
Papeete suspected them of foul play. Interrogated through 
a French-English interpreter, she recalled at least seven 
detectives asking questions. 

In extreme pain from her fractured skull and cuts, and 
in shock, Kerry had been through a tremendous ordeal. 
She and Lori wanted only to go home to America. Gary 
Edwards volunteered to stay with the Spellbound in 
Papeete to keep it from being vandalized. 

Finally, on February 28, four days after the double trag- 
edy, the young women were allowed to leave and fly out of 
Tahiti. 

Two and a half hours after their short stopover at LAX, 
Lori and Kerry arrived in Seattle. They were met by a pha- 
lanx of relatives and friends. Port Authority police whisked 
them through a crowd of reporters and curious bystanders 
at SeaTac Airport into a secluded area. 

At first glance, Kerry and Lori appeared to be ordinary 
tourists returning from a tropical vacation. They were tan, 
and they wore brightly colored skirts with Tahitian prints, 
and strands of island beads, but the girls' faces were 
strained and hollow, there was terror in their gaze, and 
Kerry had a deep cut over one eye. 

They insisted they had nothing to say to the reporters who 
were anxious to hear what had happened in Rangiroa. Soon, 
Lori and Kerry retained attorneys to represent them, and the 
lawyers advised them not to give any media interviews. 

192 



DEATH IN PARADISE 

Of the five people who left San Diego on the Spell- 
bound, only Lori Huey was uninjured. On March 3, Kerry 
Edwards was admitted to Overlake Hospital in Bellevue 
and underwent surgery to repair her fractured skull. She, 
too, had come close to dying of her injuries — ^but physi- 
cians felt she would survive. 

Larry Edwards, Gary's elder brother, flew to Tahiti to 
join Gary in protecting the magnificent sailing ship that 
now had no destination and was only a sad reminder of a 
trip to paradise that never happened, at least not in the way 
the Edwardses had planned. The ship was now worth 
almost $200,000, and one man couldn't stay awake 
twenty-four hours a day to patrol it. 

The Edwards family was being torn apart, all within a 
period of nine days, as if some evil presence stalked them. 
On March 5, Ira Edwards, the beloved patriarch of their 
family, died of cancer. 

Jody, Loren, and now Ira were gone. Their family had 
been blessed, and it seemed as if a curse had fallen upon 
them. 



Early in April, six weeks after the tragedy, a federal grand 
jury met in Seattle to begin a closed-door investigation 
into Loren and Jody's deaths. Kerry Edwards and Lori 
Huey testified at the secret hearing, but they continued to 
decline to comment publicly on what had occurred in the 
sea off Rangiroa. Gary remained far away on board the 
ill-fated ship. 

Peyton Whitely, the Seattle Times reporter who had once 
shared a dock with the Edwardses, was more curious than 

193 



ANN RULE 

most about what had happened to his friends, casual 
acquaintances though they were. He knew they had been 
inordinately proud of the yellow-hulled sailboat that had 
once dwarfed most of the other boats at the Marina Park in 
Kirkland. Most of the details of the deadly twenty-four 
hours on board that boat were still hidden. That was, of 
course, tantalizing to an investigative reporter. 

Whitely pitched the story to his editor and said he was 
ready to travel to Tahiti to see what he could find out. His 
concept of the coverage was right on target, but his timing 
was off. As it happened, another Times reporter was 
already scheduled to go to Papeete for a different kind of 
assignment. Her editor figured Eloise Schumacher could 
do double duty and see what she could find out about the 
crev/ of the Spellbound. Whitely told Schumacher 
everything he had found out about the Edwardses, even 
though he was frastrated that he wouldn't be making the 
trip himself. 

Eloise located the Spellbound and Gary Edw^ards. And 
he agreed to an interview. Later, she would admit to being 
somewhat leery of being alone on the death ship with 
Gary, probably because no one knew what had really hap- 
pened in February. She shivered involuntarily as she saw 
what looked like dried bloodstains on the deck. 

The tall, tanned son of the deceased couple wore sun- 
glasses, and it was impossible to read his feelings when 
she couldn't see his eyes. 

Gary Edwards was a handsome man who had both a 
mustache and a beard and apparently hadn't cut his hair 
for months. He posed for a photograph to accompany her 
article — leaning against the mast, wearing cutoff jean 

194 



DEATH IN PARADISE 

shorts and without a shirt. He looked half hippie and half 
Indiana Jones. 

Probably she couldn't have read his feelings even if she 
looked deep into his eyes. In the four-hour interview 
aboard the sailboat, Gary spoke volubly as his mood 
changed with mercurial speed. One moment he laughed, 
and the next he was choking back tears. He said he was 
anxious to correct some erroneous reports about the time 
frame in which his father and stepmother perished. 

First of all, he said, his wrist wasn't injured at the same 
time the boom hit his father, "t hurt it four days earlier," he 
pointed out. "On February 20. A winch handle hit it. I 
didn't think it was broken, but the winch tore some liga- 
ments, and that injury prevented me from doing a lot of 
things on the boat." 

Gary Edwards said that another misstatement revolved 
around Kerry and the comments the ham-radio operator in 
Los Angeles had passed on. 

"Kerry wasn't hurt when my dad was killed. It was four 
a.m., before my dad died, and I was in the cockpit at the 
wheel. I heard her moaning and screaming from her 
bunk — ^that's thiee steps down from the cockpit." 

Gary said he had gone to Kerry and found her with a 
pillow over her head. "She kept saying her head hurt. She 
had been asleep and she had no idea how she got hurt. I 
think she might have gotten up, fallen, and hit her head on 
the comer of the bunk." 

Having Kerry injured had further upset the carefully 
planned schedule they were trying to adhere to to traverse 
as many miles as possible to Papeete so that Loren could 
catch a plane to see his dying father. 

195 



ANN RULE 

"So you were injured first — four days before your 
father and Kerry were?" Eloise Schumacher asked. 

"Yes. First me. Then Kerry, and then my dad." 

Gary explained that his stepmother — Jody — had come 
up from the master cabin before dawn on February 24 so 
she could take care of Kerry. 

"My dad took over the helm," Gary went on. "We were 
just disoriented then, because it was night and dark, and 
we weren't keeping track of where we were going." 

Gary Edwards drew a deep breath as he continued to 
recall the events of the early morning hours of February 
24. "Two hours after Kerry's mishap — whatever happened 
to her — I was steering in the cockpit and I thought I saw 
an atoll. I climbed up on the bow to see better. I called to 
my father— who was inside — to climb up on the stem to 
see if he could see the atoll. 

"All of a sudden, the boat jerked. I turned around and 
saw my father lying in the cockpit." 

For just a moment or two, Gary took off his sunglasses, 
and Eloise Schumacher saw that his eyes brimmed wiih 
tears. Still, he kept on talking, remembering that bleak 
dawn as if he could actually see it play out before him . He 
explained that the sailboat was running with only two 
sails, and the mainsail hadn't been unfurled at the time of 
the accident. 

"He was either hit by the main boom, and then fell 
backward into the cockpit, hitting his head on the steer- 
ing wheels — or he lost his balance and fell," Gary specu- 
lated. 

He recalled that his father had been suffering with diz- 
ziness almost from the beginning of their voyage. Loren 

196 



DEATH IN PARADISE 

Edwards was planning to see a doctor about this when he 
got back to the States. 

With a three-year voyage planned, that would be delay- 
ing treatment for a very long tirhe. There were many things 
that could cause a sense of imbalance, some dangerous and 
some transient. He might have had high blood pressure, 
Meniere's syndrome, or a middle-ear infection. He might 
even have had a brain tumor. And maybe he was only suf- 
fering from sporadic seasickness. 

Gary continued his recall of the morning of February 
24. Loren Edwards was lying on the cockpit floor, bleed- 
ing heavily. Jody had rushed up from tending to Kerry, to 
kneel beside her husband. While Gary and Jody tried to 
help Loren, Lori Huey had taken over the helm. 

"We tried to stop the bleeding," Gary continued, 
although he didn't specify where the blood was coming 
from. "I gave him artificial respiration while my mother 
did a chest massage." 

But nothing helped, and Loren died soon after. 

"After that, my stepmother sat in the cockpit all day 
Friday with Lori, just staring and talking. She was in 
shock, of course," Gary said. "She would say, 'Why me?' 
or 'Not again . . .'" 

Still, Gary told Eloise Schumacher that none of them 
ever thought that Jody might be suicidal. She had always 
been a strong woman — both physically and emotionally. 
Jody stayed with Lori almost all the time, leaving only to 
check on Kerry, get a blanket, or go to the head. 

The long day and night passed, and Lori and Gary kept 
sending out distress signals on the radio. Kerry wasn't 
able to do much because of her head injury. 

197 



ANN RULE 

A^nd then, almost exactly twenty-four hours after her 
husband died, Jody Edwards was gone, too. "I heard a shot 
and I ran across the deck," Gary said. "Jody had shot her- 
self with my pistol. 

"I'd been setting a sail, Lori had gone to the head, and 
Kerry was lying in her bunk when it happened." 

In shock, with the South Pacific sun beating down on 
them, they drifted, becalmed, in the heedless ocean. Except 
for Lori Huey, they were all injured, and Lori couldn't stay 
at the helm all the time. 

Gary Edwards said he didn't know where they were. 
"My injured hand was so swollen that I couldn't adjust the 
sextant properly." 

Gary and the two girls talked over what they should do. 
They didn't want to bury Loren and Jody at sea so far 
from home, but they didn't know how long it would be 
until they were able to reach shore — some kind of shore. 
They didn't even know how far away they were from land, 
and the sun grew hotter. And so, just as Kerry had told the 
ham-radio operator at the LAX airport, Gary, Kerry, and 
Lori had wrapped the couple in their sleeping bags and 
then bound the cocoonlike "coffins" with heavy chains. 
They said a prayer and watched the bodies slip silently 
into the sea. 

"All I can tell you," Gary told Eloise Schumacher, "is 
they're buried at sea someplace north of Rangiroa." 

Kerry Edwards and her half brother both appeared to 
be telling believable, straightforward stories — and yet they 
differed in many instances. Kerry believed that she and 
her father had been struck at the same time by the wildly 
swinging boom, but Gary said she was mistaken. "Kerry 

198 



DEATH IN PARADISE 

was in her bunk asleep when she got hurt — and ,1 don't 
know how she got hurt. She doesn't remember, really." 

In another interview, Kerry agreed that her father had 
been "dizzy" during the trip, but she felt she knew why. 
Before they hit the open sea, he had stepped from his boat 
to another and injured his shin. It had become infected, 
and she thought that had probably caused him to have an 
ear infection, too. 

That was highly unlikely, but it seemed apparent that 
Loren's balance had been compromised. There was no 
longer any way to determine whether he suffered from an 
ear infection, soaring blood pressure, or other ailments. 
There could be no autopsy. His body drifted in the sea, 
lost forever. 

And Kerry's own skull fracture could have clouded her 
judgment. She had admitted that she slept through most of 
the vital period after she and her father were injured. 

It's almost impossible to put oneself in the place of the 
three shocked and frightened survivors of the Spellbound^ 
tragic voyage. To be adrift at sea, not knowing where you 
were, and faced with one calamity after another, would 
leave almost anyone with post-traumatic shock. 

Gary Edwards was adamant that he wasn't anxious to 
return to the United States. "I won't leave Tahiti until I'm 
ready to," he said flatly. "I don't think about leaving. It 
could be two days or two years before I take off." 

Eloise Schumacher was puzzled. She thought he would 
have been eager to get away from the far-from-home spot 
where his family had virtually disintegrated. He pointed 
out that there were several practical reasons why he could 
not leave what he called his "tropical prison." 

199 



ANN RULE 

The search party on the charter boat, and the search 
plane that had been called in, still had to be paid for their 
time, fuel, and expertise. That would cost $3,500. Gary 
said he didn't have that at the moment. Moreover, his visa 
had expired, and the French police were withholding his 
passport until he could pay the debt. 

The Seattle Times reporter asked Gary about the inves- 
tigation of his parents' deaths that was currently being car- 
ried on by a federal grand jury, the FBI, and the Coast 
Guard. 

"They know I'm here. What can they do to me?" Gary 
answered angrily. "If they want me, they can come down 
here and get me. I'm not going anywhere. I'm in no hurry 
to argue with anybody at home. I don't care what's going 
on there. I don't want to go argue with a grand jury which 
has no idea what it is like to be in the middle of the ocean 
with two bodies in the hot sun all day. My going back and 
debating won't solve a thing. 

"They can believe whatever they dariin well want." 

It was hard for Eloise Schumacher to judge the man. 
He was certainly bitter, and perhaps he felt guilty because 
he hadn't been able to save his father or perceive his step- 
mother's suicidal state. He knew that he was under suspi- 
cion; he'd been questioned enough by French police. He 
had suffered great personal losses, too. 

Gary Edwards admitted that remaining in Papeete was 
an escape of sorts, a way to postpone his grief about his 
parents. Once he was back in the States, the awful reality 
of the tragedy couldn't be denied. 

And still, living on the sailboat gave him an eerie feel- 



200 



DEATH IN PARADISE 

ing, especially when night settled. "I walk through the 
places where my mother and father lay I see the blood- 
stains on the floor and on the deck. I see the places where 
the FBI and the Coast Guard drove holes to get blood 
samples . . ." 

In essence, Gary felt he was trapped in paradise, bound 
by his burden to protect the Spellbound, which had meant 
so much to his parents. The ketch had been a shining 
dream, but now it was an albatross. 

"Do you feel ostracized?" Eloise Schumacher asked. 
"The Tahiti Bulletin seems to have a story about your fam- 
ily's loss in their paper almost every day." 

He shook his head. "No, I don't feel unwelcome or 
ostracized. People here are kind." 

Gary wasn't alone. An old friend of his from Canada 
had come over to live aboard with him, and he had a 
French girlfriend he'd met in Tahiti. 

"I'm not worried about running out of money. It only 
costs about $3.60 a day to moor my ship at the quay, along 
the main road." 

Ironically, Gary Edwards had found work as an extra in 
a TV movie being filmed in Tahiti: Overboard. It was 
based on a book about a sailboat that had met with a disas- 
ter at sea. 

Like his father, Gary Edwards was a skilled carpenter, 
and he worked other jobs painting and repairing boats. 
When he wasn't working, he spent his time swimming, 
visiting the colorful native markets, and working on the 
Spellbound. Except for his injured wrist, which he said 
was healing rapidly, he was in excellent physical shape. 



201 



ANN RULE 

Even so, he dreaded the thought of sailing his parents' 
sailboat again. Papeete and Rangiroa were so far from 
American territory. Sailing to Hawaii would require a 
month or more. 

"I can't face the ocean again so soon. The trip from 
here to there [Hawaii] would kill me." 

Gary wanted to sell the Spellbound. He couldn't visual- 
ize himself ever sailing her again. "It will always be my 
parents' boat, and it will always have their bloodstains. 
The only way to get rid of them is to replace the boat." 

He sounded like Lady MacBeth saying "Out, damned 
spot!" as she tried to scrub the imagined blood from her 
hands. If he had to, he could live for a year in Tahiti for a 
thousand dollars, but he would have to live on what had 
become a ghost boat, surrounded by gruesome reminders 
of two incomprehensible deaths. And money to pay off the 
search parties and to sail the ship away wasn't that easy to 
come by. In the initial frantic days after they landed in 
Rangiroa, he had requested fimds from home, and he'd 
received $2,500 from his parents' estate. 

The elder Edwardses' bank in Kirkland had called 
Papeete and asked that that money be returned because it 
was part of their estate. No one had been able to find a 
will. Gary said Loren had told him once that he'd written 
a will, and built a secret compartment in the fifty-four- 
foot sailboat for important papers. 

"I would almost have to destroy the boat to find that 
compartment," Gary sighed. "I have looked in all the obvi- 
ous places and I haven't found it." 

A long time later, that will and insurance papers were 



202 



DEATH IN PARADISE 

located back in Seattle, but it would be years before the 
probate case could be closed. 

One thing investigators discovered was that there had 
been several guns on board the Spellbound. None of them 
had been declared to customs for fear that they would be 
seized. Jody Edwards had known where they were. Beyond 
the Walther automatic handgun that Gary brought in his 
seabag, there were two rifles and a shotgun. 

"My father made the decision not to declare our guns 
when we went through customs in the Marquesas Islands " 
Gary recalled. 

When he was asked if he knew how long the survivors 
had drifted at sea after Jody Edwards died on February 25, 
he felt it had been only about fourteen hours before the 
rescuing chartered boat found them, and that they made 
port in Rangiroa by 10:30 that Saturday night. His father 
had been dead for forty hours then, and his mother only 
since the wee hours of Saturday morning. 

"The girls were very messed up mentally," Gary 
recalled. They had been flown to Papeete the next day — 
Sunday — ^where they were questioned by French detec- 
tives. Gary had arrived on Monday. When the police saw 
how seriously Kerry was injured, she was hospitalized. 

"Lori and I were kept separated, and questioned for 
hours" 

Gary adamantly denied that the rumors and innuendos 
that were floating around Tahiti and beginning to appear in 
the local paper bothered him. The reason was simple: the 
gossip wasn't true. 

"Let everyone talk," he said. "I know what I did was 



203 



ANN RULE 

right, and I'm not ashamed of it. I don't care what happens 
now. When I decide to come back to Seattle, I will. But I 
may sail around the world first. You never know." 

Back home in Washington State, Lori Huey and Kerry 
Edwards struggled to pick up the ragged threads of their 
lives. They knew that relatives and friends were baffled 
over discrepancies in their recall and Gary's. But shock, 
severe injury-, grief, panic, and being viewed as murder 
suspects in a foreign country would certainly unhinge any- 
one. One moment, they had almost reached their exotic 
destination, and the next blood ran on the decks of the 
Spellbound. 

Kerry told reporters that the FBI special agents had 
warned her against making statements on the tragedy. She 
would say only that she was feeling a great deal better, 
and was well enough to start working part-time in a pizza 
parlor. 

Lori sought a peaceful escape from her memories of 
horror by taking a hiking and camping trip high in the 
Cascade Mountains. It was a totally different ambiance 
there from the tropical islands of the South Pacific. The 
wind in the Cascades smelled of fir, spruce, and pine, and 
the soft patter of raindrops on her tent helped to erase her 
memory of the relentless heat off Rangiroa. 

Lori's attorney had told her she didn't have to talk to 
reporters, and even though she had no guilty knowledge of 
what happened on the Spellbound, he said it would be bet- 
ter to avoid talking to the media. 

She hoped to find a job when she climbed on down the 
mountain pass, and somehow get on with her life. 

Lori's friends, however, told the Seattle Times that Lori 

204 



DEATH IN PARADISE 

had described the events of February 24 and 25 just as 
Gary had. Loren had died almost instantly when struck by 
the boom, and Jody had committed suicide in her over- 
whelming sorrow. There had been nothing any of them 
could do. 

For those who found truth in the paranormal, it was 
easy to believe that the Spellbound was under an evil spell, 
covered with a suffocating blanket of bad luck. 



There were so many questions left unanswered. Why 
would Jody Edwards have chosen to commit suicide, leav- 
ing her children adrift in the open sea? Most mothers will 
overlook even the most intense pain and grief to be sure 
their children get to safe harbor. Kerry needed her on that 
dread dawn of February 25; her twenty-year-old daughter 
v/as critically injured, and no one on board seemed to 
know what had happened to her. Perhaps Jody believed 
they were all lost anyway, perishing from disorganization 
and panic without Loren there to calm them with his 
strength and commion sense. 

With Jody dead, there would be only Gary (with one 
useless hand) and petite Lori to bring their boat safely into 
harbor, where Kerry could get medical care. Wouldn't 
Jody have chosen to stay with them — at least until they 
were all safe? 

Again, it's almost impossible to judge the state of mind 
of someone suddenly plunged into disaster. 

There was also the puzzle of Kerry's memory. She was 
sure she'd been with her father when he was struck in the 
head, and that she had been struck, too. But Gary contra- 

205 



ANN RULE 

dieted her and insisted she had suffered her skull fracture 
when she was sleeping below deck in her bunk. When the 
sailboat lurched with sudden wave action, she could have 
been going to the head, or getting a drink of water, and 
fallen, striking her brow on something hard and sharp. But 
Gary insisted she was in her bed when he first heard her 
whimpering in pain. How had she managed to crawl back 
into her bunk? 

As always, when witnesses refuse to talk publicly, there 
was suspicion. Grand jury hearings are secret, held behind 
closed doors, but most laymen weren't aware of that. They 
wondered if the Edwardses had family skeletons or vola- 
tile relationships that had exploded into violence. That 
was the romantic notion of true gothic tradition and soap 
operas, but if there was any substance behind the whis- 
pered questions, the grand jury would surely have returned 
indictments against someone. 

And they did not. 

A few people who were not on the Spellbound that 
night wondered aloud if it was possible for pirates to have 
killed Loren and injured Kerry, strangers bent on robbery 
who had glided silently up to the sailboat in the dark and 
crept aboard, unseen. 

If so, why hadn't they attacked the other three people 
on board, too? That explanation was a long shot — but 
possible. 

One couple who lived on Papeete had known Loren and 
Jody and their family well, after they went on several 
cruises with a platoon of sailboats in American waters. 
They didn't know what to think about the Edwardses' 



206 



DEATH IN PARADISE 

deaths. They had heard the rumors that said Gary had 
killed them, but they tried to be fair with him and often 
invited him over to supper. He was always polite and 
grateftil for a home-cooked meal. 

On one of those nights, their daughter, Gwen,* who 
was in her early twenties, was visiting them. 

"I didn't approve of their associating with him, because 
I thought he might be dangerous," Gwen recalled. "I think 
he sensed that." 

According to Gwen, when her parents invited Gary 
over for supper, he had glared at her throughout the meal. 
After he finally left, she made her parents promise never to 
ask him again. 

"He scared me," she said. "I felt as though he hated 
me — or maybe he just hated women in general." 

Several months later, Gwen was in Hawaii when Gary 
and two m.en he'd hired to help him bring the Spellbound 
there showed up. The two crewmen were pleasant enough, 
and they didn't seem to have any alliance with Gary 
Edwards beyond being hired for a pickup job. 

"It was the oddest thing," Gwen explained in 2009. "I 
was walking up the dock, talking to the two guys, and 
1 saw Gary coming toward us. He looked surly, as usual, 
but he didn't say anything. When he came abreast of us, he 
picked me up by my wrists — with just one hand — and 
dangled me over the edge of the dock, banging me into the 
logs and concrete there. 

'I was afraid he was going to drop me, but he was so 
strong. He pulled me back up and dropped me on the 
dock. I was bruised and hurt, but he just walked away." 



207 



ANN RULE 

Gary Edwards's crewmen were shocked by what their 
captain had just done. They helped Gwen up and dusted 
her off, and walked her to a safe place. 

"They quit crewing for him right then," Gwen recalled. 
"They didn't want to get back on the boat with him. 

"I never saw him again, and that was fine with me." 

In the fall of 1978, Gary sailed the Spellbound into 
Richmond, California. He had taken care of his visa diffi- 
culties and was finally free to head for the United States, 
where the ketch would undergo repairs. Gary stayed with 
the boat. 

He hoped to sell it. It had been a millstone around his 
neck for eight months, a constant reminder of what hap- 
pened in those ghastly predawn hours in February. 



Two years afi:er the tragedy occurred, Larry Edwards 
signed an affidavit accusing his brother of being "the 
slayer" of their parents. The motive was rumored to be 
for financial profit, and to cover up an attempted sexual 
attack on Kerry Edwards as she slept. Because of her 
fractured skull, she didn't remember what had happened. 

If Loren and Jody's deaths were engineered by their 
son, how could it be proven? There were no witnesses— at 
least none who cared to talk about it. There were no bodies 
to be autopsied for cause or time of death. 

The elder Edwardses' estate consisted mainly of their 
modest home and their magnificent sailing craft, which 
was dry-docked in California. There was a good chance 
that it would always be considered a "bad-luck" boat, and 



208 



DEATH IN PARADISE 

sailors are notoriously superstitious. Would anyone risk 
sailing it? 

The Spellbound's value had plummeted, but it was 
probably still worth over $100,000. Despite its original 
$200,000 value, the ship was not insured. Gary Edwards 
said his parents had decided against buying insurance 
when they learned it would cost 20 percent of the boat's 
value in premiums each year. Only very wealthy boat own- 
ers could afford $40,000 a year for insurance. And while 
they were sailing around the world, Loren's income would 
have been much reduced. 

The Spellbound was sold in the summer of 1979 for 
$1 10,000. And that amount was, according to Loren and 
Jody's wills, to be divided equally five ways — to their 
children. 

Faced with his brother's accusations, Gary Edwards re- 
nounced any claim to his share of that money on Friday, 
December 21, 1980. 

"I already know I am innocent," he said. "Whatever 
share of the estate I might receive would probably be ex- 
hausted in a long and bitter legal battle. To fight this self- 
ish battle for the sake of convincing others is not worth it. 
I will not be a part of a ghoulish rehashing of details for 
the sake of blood money." 

For five years, Jody and Loren Edwards had worked on 
the Spellbound. They built it, outfitted it, sanded and var- 
nished it again and again, laid out its huge sails, always 
dreaming of the day they would sail into the balmy breezes 
of the South Pacific — even while Northwest rain pounded 
down on them. 



209 



ANN RULE 

Had they had any way of knowing how it would all end, 
they surely would never have laid the keel. All the sanding 
and varnishing of the deck of the ship that languished in 
Papeete for so long could never quite erase the blood shed 
there. 



No one was ever arrested, and the investigation into Loren 
and Jody's deaths sank into oblivion decades ago. Gary, 
Kerry, and Lori have slipped into obscurity — as they 
wanted to. He would be almost sixty now, and the two 
young women in their fifties. IVe tried, but I cannot find 
them. Even the Seattle Times reporters who came as close 
to unraveling the secrets of the Spellbound as anyone — 
Eloise Schumacher and Peyton Whitely — had to take a 
few beats to remember the story because they wrote it so 
many years ago. 

Whitely said he was startled a few years ago to walk 
down the dock where he had once known Loren and Jody 
as neighbors. 

And there it was: the Spellbound. It had a different name, 
but he recognized the yellow fiberglass hull. There was no 
question that it was the same ketch. The people working on 
it were unfamiliar to him, but Whitely introduced himself 
and asked the man if he was the owner. He nodded. 

"Do you know the history of this boat?" the longtime 
reporter asked. 

"Can't say I do." 

But the current owner was curious to know more about 
the thirty-year-old sailboat. Whitely hesitated, wondering 
if he should tell what he knew. 

210 



DEATH IN PARADISE 

The man listened avidly, but when he learned of the 
Edwardses'. fatal cruise, it didn't alarm him. Indeed, he 
found it intriguing. 

Where the Spellbound is today I don't know. But I will 
always think of her as the symbol of a lost dream. 



211 



SHARPER THAN 

A SERPENT'S 

TOOTH 



I've probably mentioned this before, but it's worth 
repeating. After several decades as a true-crime writer, I 
still find myself stumped by legal terms from time to time. 
We all do. Most laymen still believe that the term "corpus 
delicti" refers to the body of a murder victim. It doesn't. 
This misconception has been perpetuated by the fact that 
corpus is the Latin root word for "corpse." But, in correct 
usage, corpus delicti doesn't mean a victim's body at all. 
Instead, it refers to the body of a crime — all the elements 
that indicate a crime has been committed. Detectives and 
prosecutors have to prove to judges and juries that they have 
enough evidence — ^both physical and circumstantial — -to 
show that a crime has been committed. 

An actual corpse may or may not be part of the corpus 
delicti. If an adult disappears, he or she may have left of 
their own accord, and they are fi"ee to do that. But if there 
are eyewitnesses to violence to tell their stories, or a purse 
or keys left behind, or traces or even puddles of blood evi- 
dent at a possible crime scene, then a rational person 
would tend to believe that that missing person did not 
choose to step out of his life. Probably the most telling 

215 



ANN RULE 

evidence is the fingerprint of a victim or a suspect left in 
dried blood. One or both of them were there when that 
blood was wet. 

Did someone have a motive for the absent person to 
come to harm? There are myriad variables that can prove a 
homicide has been committed: Has the suspected target 
for violence been seen anywhere? Has he cashed a check, 
drawn money out of a bank, used a credit card, made calls 
on a cell phone, or attempted to collect Social Security? 
We all leave paper trails that we are unaware of If there is 
no trail at all, investigators begin to believe the person 
who has vanished is no longer alive. 

They don't have to find a body to prove murder, and 
more and more homicide cases have been solved in recent 
years without any part of the victim's body being found. 

There are other ways. 

Even so, it takes a prosecutor with a lot of guts to file 
murder charges against a suspect when the corpse of an 
alleged victim is missing, hidden under water, in the 
ground, or beneath cement. 

There is always the chance that the victim may show 
up, alive and healthy, or that he has simply chosen to dis- 
appear for his own obscure reasons. 

Convictions in homicides in which no body was dis- 
covered and identified are still rare, but the advent of DNA 
as an investigative tool has made identification much eas- 
ier than it was before the eighties and nineties. Perhaps 
I've written about a dozen "no body" cases in my career. 
Not that many out of the hundreds I've researched. 

Columbia County, Oregon, District Attorney Marty 
Sells did obtain a successful conviction in the case of 

216 



SHARPER THAN A SERPENT'S TOOTH 

school bus driver Vicki Brown in the midseventies, al- 
though her corpse is still missing today. That defendant 
was the first to be found guilty of murder in Oregon — 
though no body was found — in eighty years. 

One conviction in the state of Washington where no 
body was ever found occurred in 1965 in Snohomish 
County, when Joel A. Lung was found guilty of murder in 
the death of his estranged wife. 

When Lung appealed, State Supreme Court Justice 
Matthew W Hill wrote: "The production of the body or 
parts thereof is not essential to establish that a homicide 
has been committed. All that is required is circumstantial 
evidence sufficient to convince the minds of reasonable 
men to a moral certainty of the fact of death to the exclu- 
sion of every other reasonable hypothesis." 

Anne Marie Fahey, who lived in Wilmington, Delaware, 
literally disappeared from the face of the earth — but Tom 
Capano, a major political figure in the area, was convicted 
of her murder, and of wedging her body into a Styrofoam 
cooler, which he tossed into shark-filled waters. Anne 
Marie never surfaced, but the telltale cooler did. 

Steven Sherer went to prison for killing his wife, Jamie, 
in Redmond, Washington, even though no one found her 
remains. A forensic anthropologist testified in Sherer's 
trial that a grave didn't have to be a six-foot-deep rectan- 
gular space; a petite woman like Jamie could be hidden 
forever in a relatively small hole dug on wild land. 



The grisly case that faced King County, Washington, sher- 
iff's investigators and prosecuting attorneys in November 

217 



ANN RULE 

1978 certainly had all the earmarks of a bloody murder. 
Yet they had no body. They did have highly suspicious — 
and bizarre — circumstances, and enough blood to con- 
vince them that no one could have lost so much and 
remained alive. 

WHien Lorraine Curtis Millroy* and her husband moved 
into their spacious tri-level home in the Eastgate area near 
Bellevue in 1 954, they looked forward to years of happi- 
ness. This was true of many young couples who'd been 
torn apart by World War II. Millroy had a good job at the 
Boeing Airplane Company, and Lorraine also qualified for 
skilled positions during most of their marriage, taking 
time off to raise a family. 

In September of 1955, they welcomed their first child, a 
red-headed boy they named Dustin Lex.* Thiee years 
later, they had a little girl, Amy.* As the youngsters grew 
up, the family made many close friends in the tightly knit 
neighborhood. Millroy rose to higher levels at Boeing, and 
their marriage was sound. 

It was a good time in America then — a peaceful period 
between wars. The Korean War was far away. Families 
barbecued in their backyards, kids had sandboxes and 
wading pools. It was safe for Girl Scouts to sell cookies 
door-to-door. 

But the Millroys fell victim to a changing world, a 
world where family solidarity evaporated when teenagers 
became part of a heretofore unknown drug culture. Their 
cozy brown-and-white brick home was torn with dissen- 
sion, and all their hopes for the fiiture disappeared. 

Thanksgiving 1978 was a bleak holiday for the Mill- 
roys. Lorraine's husband wasn't at the head of the table; he 

218 



SHARPER THAN A SERPENT'S TOOTH 

v/as working for Boeing in Kansas, but they were sepa- 
rated by more than miles, and he had filed for divorce. 

Dustin Millroy had changed so much that neighbors 
and even his longtime high school and college friends 
were stunned by his appearance and his state of mind. The 
guy who'd always been "mellow" had changed radically. 
At twenty-three. Dusty was reclusive, erratic, and para- 
noid. He was convinced that the CIA was out to get him. 

Lorraine had done her best to make the holiday calm 
and happy, but she was fighting overwhelming odds. Her 
daughter was home from Bellingham, where she attended 
Western Washington University. She had brought her boy- 
friend with her, and they tried to help calm things down. 
Lorraine cooked a turkey and made pumpkin pies as she 
always had, and tried to make the day appear to be a regu- 
lar Thanksgiving. 

But the atmosphere was strained. Dusty remained in his 
basement bedroom most of the time, refusing to join the 
group. His sister saw that he had descended further into 
his weird fantasy life. 

Lorraine confided to her daughter that Dusty 's behavior 
was getting stranger and stranger. "I'm actually afraid of 
him," she said with desperation in her voice. "I want him 
out of the house. But I don't know whom to call. I couldn't 
do it last time " 

Dusty had recently had a psychotic episode, bursting 
from their house and running naked through the streets. 
His mother had tried to have him committed then, but a 
law passed in Washington a few years before made it im- 
possible to commit an individual unless he could be de- 
clared dangerous to himself or others. 

219 



ANN RULE 

No one felt that Dusty was that dangerous. Not his phy- 
sician or the authorities or even his mother. But, on this 
Thanksgiving Day, Lorraine believed he was dangerous to 
himself — and she feared he was a threat to others, too. 

The Millroy family managed to get through the holiday 
without a major scene, Dusty 's sister and her boyfriend 
headed back to college, and once again, Lorraine was 
alone with the son she scarcely recognized anymore. 

On Monday, November 27, Lorraine Millroy's neigh- 
bors were startled when they received a call from her 
supervisor at the research lab where she worked as a sec- 
retary. Lorraine hadn't come to work that morning. She 
was an extremely punctual member of the staff, and she 
had never before failed to show up for work without call- 
ing to say she was ill or that she had family problems. She 
always called. 

Several times during that Monday, Lorraine's neighbors 
attempted to reach her by telephone, but it rang endlessly 
and no one picked it up. Then they had gone over to knock 
on her door. There was no response at all. 

When both Lorraine and Dusty were home, her friends 
were used to seeing four vehicles parked in the driveway 
next to their house: two Volkswagen "bugs," an orange and 
white Chevy van, and an old Buick that belonged to Dusty. 
Lorraine was the only one who drove the van; she never 
allowed Dusty to borrow it. 

Now, it was gone. The beat-up Buick sedan was still 
there. 

Lorraine's closest neighbor's husband came home from 
work around 4:30. None of the women had been able to 
locate Lorraine, and they were afraid to go inside. While 

220 



SHARPER THAN A SERPENT'S TOOTH 

they held back, Jim Breakey* went next door to try to 
raise someone at the Millroy residence. He pounded on 
the door again, and then waited, listening for some re- 
sponse from inside. But, again, no one answered. 

He was worried, toe. Everyone who lived nearby knew 
how deeply Dusty was involved with drugs. They also 
knew that Lorraine was depressed and concerned about 
her son — and that she was, as she said, "scared to death of 
him." 

It was getting harder and harder to remember the cute 
little red-haired kid who had once been part of the happy 
group of children who grew up together. Dusty had lost 
his way and couldn't seem to find a path back to sanity — 
nor did he appear to want to. 

It had been dark for almost three hours, and it was sup- 
pertime. At 6:15, Lorraine's van pulled into her driveway. 
Peeking through their curtained windows, her anxious 
neighbors recognized Dusty Millroy in the driver's seat. 
They watched him as he walked into the house — alone. 
And then they walked over and knocked on the Millroys' 
front door again. No one answered, so they called his 
name, trying to persuade him to let them in. They knew he 
was inside, but he refused to respond to their knocks and 
calls — nor would he answer the phone when they dialed 
the Millroys' number. 

The neighbors felt a cold chill that had nothing to do 
with the wintry weather. Something was terribly wrong at 
the Millroy house. 

Realizing they had to do something, they called the 
King County SheriiT's Office at 6:39, reporting "suspi- 
cious circumstances." No one knew if Lorraine had left of 

221 



ANN RULE 

her own volition, if she was hiding in some part of her 
home, if she was injured, or, worse, was no longer alive. 
None of them wanted to speculate aloud on that possibil- 
ity. Somehow if they said it, that might make it true. 

Deputies Ray Green, J. J. Chilstrom, and Leo Hursh re- 
sponded, and, after listening to the neighbors' fears, the 
officers agreed that they had had good reason to call in. 

The deputies attempted to get an answer to their knocks 
at the Millroy home, but they had no more response than 
Lorraine's neighbors had. 

The Millroy house was blazing with lights on inside, 
but most of the drapes were pulled. Chilstrom peered into 
the living room where the curtains didn't quite close, and 
he could see two women's purses and some papers sitting 
on the grate inside the fireplace. They didn't appear to be 
burned, and it looked as if there hadn't been a real fire 
there for a long time. He could also see a sleeping bag on 
the floor of the room. 

Deputy Leo Hursh walked around the perimeter of the 
house, aiming his flashlight along the ground and toward 
doors and windows, not even sure what he was looking 
for. What he found didn't ease anyone's mind. On the 
south side of the house near the carport area, Hursh found 
dark red stains on, the basement doorknob. It could be 
paint, but it would take a true optimist to believe that. 

The three deputies looked through the windows of the 
orange van parked in the driveway. There were more red 
splotches on the van's interior and on rags and a sheet of 
three-quarter-inch plywood inside. An ax lay on the rear 
seat of the van, its blade covered with a rug. 



222 



SHARPER THAN A SERPENT'S TOOTH 

Supervising Sergeant Mike ConnaUy and Detective 
John Tolton joined the deputies outside the MiHroy home. 
The circumstances were no longer only suspicious; they 
were ominous. 

Periodically, the sheriff's men banged on the front door, 
but if anyone was inside, they didn't answer. Dusty could 
have slipped out another door while worried neighbors 
waited for police. 

None of Lorraine's friends had a key to her house to 
use in case of an emergency. They could break a window 
or force a door, but the deputies didn't want to do that if 
they didn't have to. ConnaUy and Hursh noticed that the 
front-door lock was the same make as the locks on their 
own homes. It was a long shot, but it was worth a try, 

ConnaUy 's house key went in, but it wouldn't turn. Leo 
Hursh 's turned, clicked, and the front door swung open. 

"Police!" they called out, entering the home. There was 
no reply. With their hands on their guns, the officers 
moved cautiously through the silent house. 

When they got to the kitchen, they stopped, appalled. 
The room looked like an abattoir. There was no question at 
all what the red stains were. Blood was splashed on the 
stove and on brightly polished pots and pans hanging 
above it. A mahogany trail snaked across the kitchen floor, 
ending at the top of the basement stairway. They followed 
it down the steps. There, they found great quantities of 
blood on the basement floor and on the carport door. Who- 
ever had bled this profusely had to be either dead or criti- 
cally injured. 

They peered into a bedroom in the basement. The 



223 



ANN RULE 

unmade bed was piled deep with all kinds of junk — 
clothes, books, remains of food. There were bloody tis- 
sues on the nightstand, and the room was generally in 
disarray. 

Lorraine's friends told them that this would be Dusty 
Millroy's room. She had complained to them that Dusty 's 
room was as jumbled and full of trash as his mind had be- 
come. 

In stark comparison, the tastefully decorated basement 
recreation room was neat — ^with one major exception. 
Someone had piled cushions from the van on top of the 
couch. They wondered if that person had needed to make 
room in the van for a large object, a human-sized object? 

It wasn't cold in the Millroy home, but the searchers 
felt a chill, feeling as though they were in a horror movie, 
not a pleasant house in the suburbs of Bellevue. They had 
found only bloodstains, but that was more than enough. 
They expected to find the source of those stains in each 
room they entered. 

But they had yet to find anything — or anyone. 

They came to a locked door: the basement bathroom. It 
could be locked only from the inside, and they knew 
someone was in there. Again, they called out: "King 
County Sheriff — come out." 

Only dead silence answered them. 

Sergeant Connally and Deputy Hursh picked the lock 
with a nail, and turned the knob. 

Dusty Millroy was inside. He was seated on the floor 
facing the door, and he held a small-caliber pistol, aimed 
right at them. 

"Put the gun down," Leo Hursh said. 

224 



SHARPER THAN A SERPENT'S TOOTH 

Dusty stared back at him, his eyes wild — ^but Hursh 
could tell he was debating with himself about what he was 
going to do. 

"Put it someplace where you can't reach it," Connally 
said firmly, "I'm going to count to five." 

Finally, Dusty tossed the gun behind the vanity sink. 

With his scraggly beard and mustache and his long red 
hair falling to his waist. Dusty Millroy looked like a crazed 
mountain man. He wore only a pair of stained trousers. 

The King County officers took him upstairs to the liv- 
ing room and read him his Miranda rights. He said he un- 
derstood, and initialed the card. He complained of being 
cold, and he told Hursh where to find his boots and brown 
corduroy jacket. The boots were muddy, and the jacket had 
dark blotches on it. 

"Are those bloodstains?" Detective Tolton asked. 

"Naw — ^they're just grease spots." 

Millroy 's explanation for the condition of the home he 
shared with his mother was vague, if not downright pecu- 
liar. He didn't really know what had happened or where 
his mother was. He said he'd taken her van and driven 
east, heading up toward Snoqualmie Pass because he "felt 
like getting away." 

"Why did you take the van?" Deputy Hursh asked. "We 
understand that isn't your vehicle." 

"Well, it was raining for one thing and the rear win- 
dow's broken out of my car." 

"Where did you go — exactly?" Tolton asked. 

"To Cle Elum [a small town about forty miles east of 
the Snoqualmie Pass summit]. I wanted to get out of the 
city. Besides, I was scared and I felt really weird." 

225 



ANN RULE 

"Do you know where your mother is?" Hursh asked. 
They would phrase this question a dozen different ways, 
and their suspect always shook his head. 

He continued to deny that he had any idea where his 
mother might be. It was a mystery to him. 

There was clearly no point in pursuing this line of ques- 
tioning. If Dusty knew, he wasn't going to tell them. They 
arrested him for investigation of murder and transported 
him to the King County Sheriff's Office in Seattle. 



Back at the crime scene, the sheriff's investigators took 
statements from neighbors. One woman recalled seeing 
Dusty arrive at the Millroy home that morning about 9:00. 
"He was driving his old Buick. He pulled into the drive- 
way, and then pulled it forward. I said hello to him, and he 
just stared at me, but that wasn't unusual for him. 

"I went bowling then, and when I got back at eleven I 
got a call from another neighbor who said no one could 
find Lorraine. I walked over to her house and saw that 
Lorraine's van was gone. Then the van pulled in around 
six and I sent my teenage son over to see who was driving 
it. He came back and said, 'You're not going to like it, but 
Dusty was driving it.' 

"My son said that Dusty was staggering as he walked 
from the van to the house. That wasn't unusual, either." 
"What was he wearing at that time?" 
"Jeans, his sheepskin jacket — and cowboy boots." 
Her neighbors all agreed that the missing woman — 
whom they'd last talked to on Saturday, November 25 — 
had been in a good mood then. They had the impression 

226 



SHARPER THAN A SERPENT'S TOOTH 

that she'd made a major decision in her life and was about 
to carry out her decision. 

"I think it had to do with Dusty," the woman who lived 
directly across the street said. "We all knew he needed to 
be locked up and have some treatment, but she had a hard 
time coming to terms with that. She just seemed kind of 
relieved the last time I talked to her." 

All of the people who were interviewed — most of 
whom had known Lorraine Millroy for twenty-five 
years — were aware that Dusty had had psychiatric prob- 
lems and that his mother had been terribly worried about 
him, even to the point of being afraid of him. None of 
them had heard from her, or had any idea where she was, 
but as the days went by, they feared for her life. 

A recent photograph of Lorraine Millroy appeared in 
several papers in Bellevue, Seattle, and other parts of King 
County, with an accompanying article that asked for any 
information on her the public might know. She was fifty- 
one, with reddish blond hair, blue eyes, and she weighed 
130 pounds, perfect for her height of five feet five. 

No one came forward. 



At 12:30 on the afternoon of Tuesday, November 28, Lieu- 
tenant Frank Chase interviewed Dusty Millroy in his of- 
fice at the King County Courthouse. Detective Sam Hicks 
witnessed the interview, which elicited statements that 
were peculiar, .to say the least. 

Dusty said his sister and her boyfiiend had stayed with 
him and his mother all through the four-day Thanksgiving 
holiday. He had said good-bye to them as they were about 

227 



ANN RULE 

to leave to return to Bellingham on Sunday night, Novem- 
ber 26. 

"I went down to my room about eight and locked my 
door," he recalled. "I ate some popcorn and fell asleep. 
When I woke up this morning — yesterday morning now, I 
guess — I walked into the kitchen. There was a mess on the 
floor." 

"What did the mess look like?" Lieutenant Chase 
asked. 

"Goop — a lot of goop." 

"Goop?" 

"Blood — kind of like blood. But it could have been 
chicken grease. I thought maybe my mother had killed a 
chicken in there. I took some rags and tried to clean it up. 
My mother gets mad at me if I leave a mess — she fines me 
two dollars — so I cleaned it the best I could." 

Asked if he ever had arguments with his mother, Millroy 
said that they'd argued about two weeks before because he 
hadn't paid his rent, and he'd been overdue. "She nagged 
me about it and we did have a fight then." 

"Did you have another argument yesterday morning?" 

Dusty shook his head. "No — when I got up, she was 
gone. I figured her boyfriend had given her a ride to work, 
because all our cars were still there." 

"How about the night before? Did you argue then?" 

"No, like I said, my sister was there and her boyfriend — 
we made popcorn, and I went down to my room and didn't 
come up all night." 

"But you took a trip over the mountains, you say. Why 
was that again?" 



228 



SHARPER THAN A SERPENT'S TOOTH 

"I guess when I saw aU that stuff on the kitchen floor, I 
assumed my mother was dead, and that didn't make me 
very happy. I had to get out. I was afraid of being kiUed 
myself." 

Dusty Millroy admitted that he'd taken his mother's 
purses and, after removing the credit cards, had placed 
them on the fireplace grate. 

"Why did you do that?" 

"I don't know. I really don't know." 

Chase saw that Millroy was searching for answers. Pos- 
sibly he didn't know why he'd done whatever he had done. 
Or maybe he was being deliberately vague. They still 
hadn't found his mother. 

Dusty Millroy also admitted he'd had the .22-caliber 
gun, the one he pointed at the sheriff's men, for some 
time. 

"I got it for protection," he said, but didn't say who he 
was afraid of 

"Did you ever fire it in the house?" 

"There would have been bullet holes and cartridges in 
the kitchen ifi'd fired it" 

Frank Chase didn't ask him why he had said "kitchen," 
when he'd been asked about firing his gun in the whole 
house. 

The investigators at the Millroy home had found all 
manner of incriminating evidence in Lorraine Millroy's 
orange van: bloody rags, blood, a shovel, and the sheet of 
plywood. That was the most telling physical evidence 
they'd ever seen. There was a portrait in blood etched into 
the grain of the plywood sheet; dried now, it formed a 



229 



ANN RULE 

grotesque and telling pattern. The outline of a body was 
as clear as if it had been deliberately drawn with dark red 
paint. Even the pelvic girdle was perfectly outlined. 

When Lieutenant Chase asked Millroy about the items 
in the van, he had a ready answer. "I found all that stuff 
there when I got into the van to take my drive into the 
mountains. I had a feeling that if I went for that ride across 
Snoqualmie Pass, it would lead me to my mother." 

Asked why he had begun to clean up the house where 
he and his mother lived. Dusty seemed angry. "I shouldn't 
have cleaned up anything," he blurted. "I always get stuck 
with things." 

He insisted that he hadn't dragged anything around 
through the house — as the trail of blood suggested. 

"Why was the green plastic tarp in the back of your 
mother's van?" 

"That was what I used to cover the broken window in 
my car." 

Chase drew a sketch of the bloody outline on the ply- 
wood panel, but Dusty Millroy had no explanation for that 
either. "I didn't see any blood on the panel when I looked 
into the van. I don't know how it got there." 

"Dusty, do you know where your mother is?" Chase 
asked quietly. 

"No." 

Dusty's rambling statements didn't make sense at all, 
and they contradicted each other. He alluded to "vibes" he'd 
received that told him to drive to Cle Elum, thinking he 
might find his mother there. The vibes had told him that his 
mother might be near Peoh Point Road, where he had once 
ridden trail bikes. 

230 



SHARPER THAN A SERPENT'S TOOTH 

"What else did the vibes teH you?" Chase asked. 

"That she would not be too far off the road." 

"On top of the ground or in a grave?" 

"It wouldn't be deep — with rocks on top." 

"Did you leave anything in Cle Elum?" 

"Nothing. I got stuck twice in the snow up there. Once 
some guys from Puget Power pulled me out, and the sec- 
ond time, some forest rangers pulled me out." 

This was true. Detectives had already talked with the 
crews, who remembered the strange young man with the 
long red hair who had been silent and truculent as they 
helped to dig his orange van out of the snow in the wilder- 
ness areas near Cle Elum. 

As the lengthy interview continued. Dusty Millroy 
acknowledged that his mother was probably dead. He said 
he figured that someone had killed her and taken her away. 

"I was saved only because I was locked in my basement 
room with my gun for protection all night." He seemed 
oblivious to the impression he was making on the detec- 
tives. He was young, strong, and if there had, indeed, been 
a killer in the house, most sons would have protected their 
mothers. Yet he had saved himself 

The chance that his story was true was slight, but it was 
clear he was either lying or was psychotic enough that he 
believed what he was saying. 

Lieutenant Chase left the interview room; he had been 
playing the role of the "good cop," in the time-honored 
interview technique of good cop/bad cop. While Chase 
had pretended to be understanding. Hicks had watched 
him with suspicious eyes. 

Now, Sam Hicks confi^onted Dusty Millroy, mincing no 

231 



ANN RULE 

words. He looked at Dusty with distaste, and the tension in 
the room was palpable. 

"We believe that you found your mother in the kitchen 
of your house early Monday morning," the tall, dark- 
haired detective said. "You killed her and you drove her 
body away in her van — " 

Dusty denied everything, but Hicks kept on talking. 

"You dumped her body somewhere in the woods near 
Snoqualmie Pass — maybe near Peoh Point Road." 

Millroy fidgeted and finally said, "I may have carried 
her out — but I didn't . . ." 

He stopped before he said the words "kill her." 

"Why would you 'carry her out'?" Hicks asked. 

Dusty clamped his mouth shut and refused to say more. 
Nor would he allow hair samples to be taken from his 
body. They would have to get a search warrant to do that. 
They could, but it would take more time. 

At 5:10 p.m., Dusty Millroy was booked into the King 
County Jail on suspicion of homicide. 



On November 29, Detective Frank Tennison and Sergeant 
Dave Urban searched the canyon behind the Millroys' 
house for hours. They found no sign whatsoever of Lor- 
raine's body. 

A search warrant was obtained for the orange van, 
which had been sealed since the first night deputies were 
summoned to the Millroys' house. It had been transported 
to covered storage on a flatbed truck so that any bits of 
brush or soil caught underneath wouldn't be lost. 

Tolton and Hursh processed the van, going through it 

232 



SHARPER THAN A SERPENT'S TOOTH 

inch by inch. They found two strands of hair caught in the 
rear doors. The blood inside the van was type A, but, at 
this point, no one knew what the missing woman's blood 
type was. And, in 1978, DNA identification was years in 
the future. 

The chances that Lorraine Millroy was going to show 
up alive and well were almost nil. But where was she? And 
what had happened through the years to Dusty Millroy 
that had left him in this rambling, disoriented state? 

Lorraine's estranged husband was on his way back from 
Wichita, Kansas, and their daughter was coming from Bell- 
ingham to talk to detectives. Hopefully, they could fill in 
some of the gaps in the macabre story. Amy Millroy talked 
with investigators Sam Hicks and Frank Tennison. She 
verified that she and her boyfriend had been home for the 
Thanksgiving holiday, leaving Sunday night. At that time, 
her mother had been in a "cheerftil" frame of mind, and 
Dusty had locked himself in his room, a scenario that had 
become "almost normal" for their home. 

"But it was very difficult for my mother to feel positive 
about her life," she added. 

Amy recalled that her mother had tried in the past to 
get Dusty to move out and start a life of his own. She 
wanted him to take care of his financial responsibilities. 
But Dusty hadn't been able to make it on his own, and he'd 
soon ended up living in his car. 

Worried about him, Lorraine Millroy had always re- 
lented, and allowed him to move back in. Her mother had 
also tried — in vain — to get Dusty into psychiatric treat- 
ment. But he was adamant that he wouldn't go. 

"My brother has caused so much upheaval in our 

233 



ANN RULE 

family," Amy sighed. She said she blamed him for their 
father opting out of the whole situation, filing for divorce 
and accepting a job in Boeing's Wichita division. "My 
mom's been on her own, trying to deal with Dusty." 

Amy said that Dusty had last worked as a mechanic for 
a business that maintained fleet automobiles for corporate 
use. Although he had been talented in many areas and 
highly intelligent, all that changed when her brother had 
gotten heavily into LSD about a year before. 

"He uses it regularly on weekends." 

In the sixties, Timothy Leary and actor Gary Grant, 
along with many other celebrities, praised the hallucino- 
genic as a miraculous breakthrough to expand the mind. 
Lysergic acid stimulated the brain to see fantastic colors 
and remarkable scenes, along with terrifying delusions. 
Those who touted it were sure that it was the panacea for 
all manner of ills in the body and mind. Of course it 
wasn't, and Dusty 's brain was only one of thousands that 
had been overwhelmed by the visions and out-of-body 
sensations the drug produced. 

"I believe he also tried PGP," Amy said. "They call it 
'Angel Dust,' I think." 

The detectives knew about PGP, which surfaced in the 
midseventies. It was considered an "elephant tranquilizer" — 
an extremely powerfLil drug that gave those who ingested it 
superhuman strength and badly mangled brains. 

Amy said that Dusty and his roommate at Evergreen 
State GoUege in Olympia, Washington, had been so en- 
trenched in the drug world that they were barely attending 
classes, and they had failed to finish the quarter there. 



234 



SHARPER THAN A SERPENT'S TOOTH 

Their experiences were only two among thousands of trag- 
edies that were facing parents aH over America.lt seemed 
that Lorraine Millroy's awful fate might be one of the 
worst. 

The King County detectives learned the names of sev- 
eral of Dusty 's friends who had ridden trail bikes with him 
and had a list of possible spots where Dusty might have 
abandoned his mother's body. A concentrated grid search 
with sheriff's personnel, volunteers, and necrosearch dogs 
went on for days — netting nothing. 

Sergeant Hicks and Detective Tolton interviewed Dusty 
Millroy again. Vaguely, Dusty said he thought he had trav- 
eled between ten and twenty miles from the area where he 
had first been stuck in the snow on Snoqualmie Pass, and 
the second time the van foundered, when he'd been dug 
out by forest rangers. Even though 1-90 cut a fairly narrow 
path between rock outcroppings that rose steeply on both 
sides of the freeway, that would be an almost impossibly 
large area to search for a body in the snow. 

"Tell me again why you left your house on Monday 
morning?" Hicks asked, 

"How would you feel if your mother had just been mur- 
dered in the house? I was afraid," Dusty said morosely. 

Lorraine's employer told detectives that Lorraine had 
been a close friend as well as an employee, and they 
had shared confidences. "She was afraid of Dusty. She 
wanted him out of the house." 

The hunt for Lorraine Millroy's body now extended 
into adjacent Kittitas County, east of the King County 
line. A crew from that sheriff's office reported that they 



235 



ANN RULE 

had found nothing at all in any of the spots Dusty Millroy j 
had been known to frequent in the past. Nor were there \ 
any indications that Lorraine's body had been in either of 
the locations where the orange van had been stuck. 

Sergeant Sam Hicks 's search for Lorraine's blood t}^pe 
was just as frustrating. He checked back through all her 
places of employment, all her health insurance companies, 
physicians, dentists, and hospitals, but he found that, for 
one reason or another, either her blood type had never 
been recorded or some of her files had been lost. 

Lorraine's health was good; her biggest problem was 
the agony she suffered emotionally as she tried to deal 
with Dusty. Her most recent doctor verified that she had 
asked for help in getting Dusty to a psychiatrist and that a 
referral had been made. 

But Dusty never went. 

Hicks received a phone call from Amy Millroy. She and 
her father had returned to the Eastgate home and found 
several items that disturbed them. Lorraine's bedroom 
slippers were there, and as far as they could determine, so 
were all her other clothes. 

Amy believed that her mother had probably tinted her 
hair sometime after Amy and her boyfiiend left the Sun- 
day night after Thanksgiving to return to college. 

"She usually did that in the morning. We found the 
shower cap she used for that in Dusty 's room." 

They had also found some clothing — Dusty's — that had 
been washed and left to molder in the washing machine. 
Faint reddish stains were still apparent on the sleeve of 
one shirt. 

It was now the first week in December, and every pos- 

236 



SHARPER THAN A SERPENT'S TOOTH 

sible area where Lorraine MiUroy's body might be hidden 
had been searched by the King and Kittitas County detec- 
tives and volunteers. 

She was simply gone. 

She could be buried under the deep snow that began in 
the foothills a few miles east of her home or perhaps 
somewhere farther up on Snoqualmie Pass. If this was 
true, it would be spring before the great snowbanks began 
to thaw and slough off. Until then, no one would be able to 
find her body. 



Lieutenant Chase and his investigators conferred with the 
King County prosecutor's senior trial deputy, Lee Yates, 
and Yates agreed that there was enough evidence to go 
ahead with a formal charge of second degree murder 
against Dusty Millroy. In his affidavit to the court, Yates 
stated, "Despite the lack of a body, the evidence is consis- 
tent solely with the fact that Millroy killed his mother and 
disposed of her body." 

To substantiate his argument, Yates cited the volumi- 
nous blood that had been found in at least six different 
locations in the Millroy home. Although they had yet to 
establish Lorraine Millroy 's blood type, the blood in her 
van and the blood in her house were both type A. Yates 
referred to the body shape imprinted in dried blood on the 
plywood sheet in the van, the bloody plastic tarp, and 
ropes and rags found in the van. He was fully prepared to 
pursue the state's case — even if Lorraine Millroy was 
never found. 

"No one has seen Lorraine Millroy since the night of 

237 



ANN RULE 

November 26," Lee Yates told Superior Court Judge Frank 
Roberts, "nor has any paper trail turned up." 

Roberts agreed with Yates's assertions. Dustin Lex 
Millroy, twenty-three, was charged with second-degree 
murder on December 6. Christmas trees and bright lights 
adorned the courthouse, while office holiday parties 
spilled the sound of laughter into the marble corridors. 

But not at the empty house in Eastgate. Thanksgiving, 
however awkward it had been, had undoubtedly been the 
last family celebration for the Millroys. 



On December 18, two elk hunters were slogging through 
the snow near the Taylor River Road east of North Bend, 
Washington. It wasn't far from where 1-90 begins its climb 
to the summit of Snoqualmie Pass, and close to the road — 
just as Dusty Millroy had once visuahzed where his 
mother's body was, according to his account of nightmares. 

The hunters recognized coyote tracks and followed 
them to what at first appeared to be the carcass of a deer. 

But as they peered closer, they saw that it wasn't a deer 
or any other wild animal. 

Lorraine Millroy had been found. 

Sickened, the two men rushed to the CB radio in their 
truck and called the King County Sheriff's Office. It was 
3:15 in the afternoon when Detective Tolton arrived, fol- 
lowed shortly by Sergeant Roy Weaver, Detective Frank 
Atchley, and several deputies. 

It was close to the shortest day of the year, and the sun 
was already descending at a little after three o'clock. The 
sheriff's men raced against time as they examined the ru- 

238 



SHARPER THAN A SERPENT'S TOOTH 

ined remains of what had probably once been an attractive 
woman. Her body was nude, save for a bra and a turquoise 
robe partially wrapped around her head. Her hair was 
freshly colored a light red and it spread out brightly over 
the snow. 

Wild animals had savaged the body, stripping the flesh 
completely away from the right arm. Many internal organs 
were missing from her right side. At this point, cause of 
death would be impossible to determine, although it 
looked as if she had suffered at least one severe stab 
wound to her neck. Animal scavengers tend to enter a 
body at pomts of injury. 

By 4:30, those at the crime scene had com_pleted trian- 
gulation measurements, from where the woman's corpse 
lay, to trees, rocks, and other permanent markers. They 
could always return here and pinpoint where the victim 
was found. When they were finished, the corpse was 
placed in a body bag for transfer to the King County 
Medical Examiner's Office. 

The next morning, Dr. John Eisele performed the post- 
mortem exam on the body found in the lonely woods. She 
had not suffered only a single wound; she had been 
stabbed again and again in the neck and chest area, and 
animals had carried off her right lung, heart, liver, gall 
bladder, esophagus, and stomach. Consequently, there was 
no way of knowing how much damage those organs had 
suffered in the attack. There was, however, evidence of 
severe hemorrhaging in the jugular vein. Although Eisele 
wouldn't be able to state the exact cause of death, he esti- 
mated that Lorraine Millroy probably had died quickly of 
internal bleeding after a savage attack. 

239 



ANN RULE 

Looking at her hands, Dr. Eisele opined that she proba- 
bly had had little, if any, warning. "See," he said to detec- 
tives. "Only her left hand bears any sign of a defensive 
wound." 

Her blood type was A — as expected. And her finger- 
prints matched samplers of Lorraine Millroy's. 

With her daughter's assistance, it was possible to recon- 
struct Lorraine Millroy's last day on earth. She had proba- 
bly risen early on Monday morning — ^November 27 — so 
she could dye her hair before going into the kitchen to fix 
breakfast. She must have been in the kitchen in her robe 
when an argument with Dusty began. And it had proved to 
be the last argument for a woman who had done her best 
to find help for a son whose brain was so seared by drugs 
that he exhibited classic signs of paranoia. 

Lorraine's husband and daughter had found a knife in 
her dishwasher, a knife that Lorraine always washed by 
hand to preserve the wooden handle. The knife's measure- 
ments were consistent with the depth and width of the 
wounds Lorraine Millroy had suffered. There was human 
blood on the knife — but not enough to determine the 
blood type, since her killer had run it through the steaming 
hot dishwasher cycle. 



Dusty Millroy's story was like that of many of his peers. 
He had been raised strictly and rebelled. As a teenager, he 
wasn't allowed to wear his hair long or have it cut like the 
Beatles' hair, the way some of his classmates wore theirs. 
Now it hung almost to his waist. 



240 



SHARPER THAN A SERPENT'S TOOTH 

In high school, Dusty got drunk on beer and smoked 
marijuana. StiH, he'd always had an even temper then, and 
he'd never been given to rages. 

Dusty went on to Bellevue Community College, earning 
an associate degree in music and poetry — not a curriculum 
that would prepare him to make a living, unless he went on 
to get higher degrees. 

His teenage friends had considered him "an ordinary, 
average guy" until 1975, when he went to Evergreen State 
College. There, everything changed. Evergreen was an 
avant garde college that fit with the seventies, a school 
oriented to "doing your own thing," and where personal 
growth was equally as important as something so prosaic 
as grades. This approach worked extremely well for highly 
intelligent students who were self-starters and could man- 
age their own lives, but it wasn't the best college for oth- 
ers, and drugs weren't rare on its -campus. 

And it was a beautiful woodsy campus where there was 
no dress code, but many brilliant educators. 

Dusty Millroy was one of those who gravitated to hard 
drugs. As he took more and more, he began to be afraid, 
convinced that CIA spies were watching him constantly. 
At the same time, he refused to believe that his constant 
ingestion of LSD had anything to do with his paranoia and 
delusions. 

By 1976, his condition grew worse. His old friends 
were shocked to see how much weight he'd lost, and the 
ugly open sores on his face and hands. 

One friend recalled to detectives, "He was really para- 
noid, talked about 'losing the CIA.' He took off for Ankara, 



241 



ANN RULE 

Turkey, and he was really doing LSD. I never dropped him, 
but his attitude about government spies following him was 
totally weird." 

Dusty's family confirmed this. They had heard through 
the U.S. embassy in Turkey that Dusty was panhandling 
and was about to be arrested if someone didn't send him 
enough money to leave the country. They forwarded 
funds, and he was sent first to Germany and then home, 
where he moved in with his mother. 

LSD — and probably other drugs— had burned out the 
mind of a "brilliant, quiet child who had never before 
shown a sign of violence." 

The constant stress that Lorraine Millroy had endured 
can only be imagined; she was in the middle of a divorce, 
striving to earn a living, and at her wits' end trying to find 
help for her son. The explosions between the two were to 
be expected. She never knew what he might do, and she 
was afraid — and yet she had attempted to keep some sem- 
blance of normalcy in the house. Dusty was still her son, 
and she couldn't bear to think of him living, cold and hun- 
gry, in his battered old car with its broken window, with 
rags stuffed in to keep out the freezing temperatures. 

And Lorraine had taken him back home again and 
again, a home that was immaculate except for his rat's nest 
of a room. Only another mother would understand why 
she couldn't just give up on her son. 

Still, she was full of fear. Her neighbors were afi*aid for 
her. But there had seemed no way to stop the inexorable 
path of tragedy that lay ahead. 

With the discovery of Lorraine's body, prosecutor Lee 
Yates entered another charge; Dusty Millroy was now 

242 



SHARPER THAN A SERPENT'S TOOTH 

charged with first-degree murder. Before a trial, however, 
he would undergo ninety days of observation by psychia- 
trists at Western State Hospital to see if he was competent 
to participate in his own defense. 

There is, of course, a vast difference under the law 
between clinical insanity and legal insanity. Prosecutor 
Lee Yates and Rebecca Roe, the deputy prosecutor who 
would assist in the State's case, felt that, under the 
M'Naughton Rule, Millroy was not legally insane. He 
must have known that what he did was wrong: he had 
denied his crime, made efforts to cover it up, hidden the 
body — all acts of a man who realized the difference 
between right and wrong as he committed murder. 

Sergeant Sam Hicks had felt that Millroy was "playing 
games" with him when Hicks interrogated him after his 
arrest. And Officer Hursh, who had talked to Millroy in his 
home about the blood spatters on the wall, felt the same 
way. When Hursh had asked him about the blood, Millroy 
had bristled, "What are you trying to do — nail me with a 
homicide beef?" 

Millroy had then tried to explain away the blood by say- 
ing he'd had a severe nosebleed and that his forehead had 
then broken into a rash and had begun "dripping blood." 

When he was first institutionalized. Dusty Millroy 
seemed quite withdrawn and disoriented. However, on Feb- 
ruary 15, he called Yates and said he wanted to talk about 
obtaining a reduced charge of second-degree murder. After 
advising him of his rights under Miranda once more, Lee 
Yates and Sam Hicks had an extended phone conversation 
with the suspect. Hicks asked Dusty to explain the differ- 
ence between first- and second-degree murder in his own 

243 



ANN RULE 

words, and Dusty responded, "Well, first degree is pre- 
meditated and second degree is spur of the moment." 

His grasp of the fine points of the law didn't seem to be 
the words of a man who was legally insane. 

Finally, Dusty Millroy was ready to tell them for the 
first time what had happened on the morning of Novem- 
ber 27: 

"Okay. After I woke up, I killed her, okay?" Millroy 
began. 

"How did this happen?" Sergeant Hicks asked. 

"It was just spur of the moment. It was no argument or 
anything. I just killed her." 

Millroy said he'd awakened about eight or nine and 
found his mother in the kitchen, wearing the blue bathrobe 
and the shower cap. He said he'd glimpsed the knife on the 
counter. 

"Did she make you mad or something?" Hicks asked. 

"No, she didn't." 

"She was just standing there and you got mad and 
stabbed her?" 

"Yeah." 

Millroy said his mother had been facing him, had said 
nothing, and that he really had no idea why he had killed 
her. 

"What did you do with the knife?" Hicks asked. 

"I stabbed her in the neck." 

"Did you stab her more than once?" 

"Yes, I did." 

"Where?" 

"Around the neck and— and once or twice in the chest." 



244 



SHARPER THAN A SERPENT'S TOOTH 

"But you don't know why you did it?" 

"No." 

"Did you have bad feehngs about her before?" 

"Yes — -uh, being tossed out of the house and stuff like 
that." 

In response to Hicks 's questions, MiHroy said he had 
wrapped his mother's body in the plastic tarp, dragged it 
downstairs, and then placed it on the plywood sheet in the 
van. "Then I drove to Cle Elum, but I changed my mind 
and turned around with her body still in the van." 

Hicks asked Dusty if the Puget Power crew or the forest 
rangers had seen her body when they were digging him 
out of the snow. 

"I already got rid of it by then." 

"You positive you didn't argue with your mother that 
morning?" 

Sighing, Dusty Millroy admitted that there had been a 
discussion that morning. His mother told him that he 
would have to start thinking about moving out of the 
house, but she hadn't given him a specific time when 
he had to go. 

Even so, her comments had angered him, and he had 
attacked his mother so unexpectedly that she had no time 
to resist the plunging knife. 

"I knew I was in trouble then," he said. "That's why I 
had to hide her body. I tried to clean up the house and 
wash the clothes I wore." 

This statement indicated that Millroy had indeed real- 
ized the difference between right and wrong at the time he 
killed his mother. 



245 



ANN RULE 



Despite his earlier admissions, when Dusty Millroy went 
to trial in early May 1 979, however, it was a different man 
who took the stand. 

Superior Court Judge Warren Chan was hearing the 
case without a jury. He entered a plea of innocence by rea- 
son of insanity for the defendant, in addition to the defen- 
dant's own plea of innocent. 

But Dusty Millroy refused to entertain any arguments 
at all that he was insane, nor would he admit to his moth- 
er's murder — even though he'd already told Yates and 
Hicks that he had done it. 

Two psychiatrists and a psychologist testified that 
Dusty was criminally insane — testimony that enraged the 
rail-thin defendant, who had insisted on making his own 
plea of innocent. 

The defendant's father, referring to the recent mass sui- 
cide (by cyanide-laced Kool-Aid) of the Reverend Jim 
Jones's devout followers, described his son as a "Jonestown 
type — the sort of person who would have followed the 
Reverend Jim Jones." 

"Jonestown follower?" Dusty blurted out, his eyes 
glinting with anger. 

"What do you mean by that?" defense attorney Rich 
Brothers asked. 

"That he would have been susceptible — " 

"That's ridiculous!" Dusty exclaimed loudly, shaking 
his head. 

When he took the stand— against his attorneys' advice — 



246 



SHARPER THAN A SERPENT'S TOOTH 

Dusty MiHroy continued to disagree with any testimony 
that he was insane. "I never wanted the insanity plea in the 
first place. I am a pacifist. I don't believe in killing— even 
insects." 

"Did you kill your mother?" defense attorney Brothers 
asked. 

"No. I did not." 

Dusty's mind circled once more around his main delu- 
sion. He testified that he felt the CIA was possibly respon- 
sible for his mother's murder. 

"While I was at Evergreen State College, it became 
apparent that somebody had laced the well that supplied 
water to the college with some kind of chemical or drug," 
he said with his own crazy conviction. "The chemical 
caused men to become drowsy and women to become 
sexually productive [sic]'' 

The defendant explained to Judge Chan that strange 
people had begun showing up on campus and that he felt 
they were sent by some government organization. 

"It looked like we were under observation of some 
kind. The government was using the students as guinea 
pigs, and about seventy percent of the students dropped 
out without finishing the year." 

Millroy told the court that he was sure the CIA was to 
blame and that spies from that agency had followed him to 
California, and then to Turkey. "They tapped my phone," 
he said, "and they fired a shot at me." 

Asked to describe his recall of November 27, he said 
he'd awakened, walked into the kitchen, and found "a mess 
on the floor. I thought it might be the remains of a chicken. 



247 



ANN RULE 

I tried to clean it up, but I just tried that briefly. Then I sud- 
denly noticed something was wrong. There was too much 
blood for any chicken." 

He testified that he began to worry that his mother had 
been hurt. "I felt my mother had been injured because she 
was nowhere to be seen. I think the CIA killed her, 
because they were the only ones who had animosity to me. 
They are, of course, capable of such activities." 

Dusty Millroy's mind was either churning with delu- 
sions and ugly fantasies, or he was trying very hard to ap- 
pear insane. 

He testified that he'd driven his mother's van to Cle 
Elum to look for her. 

"Why did you do that?" his attorney asked. 

'T did that because I'd heard a voice during the night — 
when I was half asleep — and it mentioned 'the highway 
east.' " 

Millroy's courtroom statements certainly smacked of a 
man in the grip of psychosis. But prosecutor Yates had in- 
troduced the quite rational admission to his mother's mur- 
der that Dusty had given freely in February, just a few 
months earlier. 

Dusty Millroy's affect was flat throughout his trial, with 
the worst emotional outbursts evident during the twelve 
minutes when Lee Yates cross-examined him. He was 
extremely annoyed when Yates suggested curtly that the 
defendant was playing games with the judge. 

Yates wondered why the defendant had driven east up 
the mountain, searching for his mother. 

"You're saying you thought you would just come upon 
[your mother] in the wilderness?" 

248 



SHARPER THAN A SERPENT'S TOOTH 

"I thought maybe I could spot blood in the snow . . ." 

"Oh, come on," Yates said, derision in his voice. "You 
don't expect us to believe that!" 

"I don't care whether you believe it or not," Millroy 
spat out. "It's the truth." 

Dusty quickly recovered the stoic attitude he'd exhib- 
ited through most of his trial. 

There seemed to be no doubt in Judge Chan's mind 
that Dusty Millroy had been the immediate instrument of 
his mother's death. No one else had a motive to kill 
Lorraine Millroy, and all physical and circumstantial 
evidence pointed to her firstborn, her own son. She 
had coddled him, spoiled him, and forgiven his outra- 
geous and bizarre behavior time and again. And she had 
finally had all she could bear and ordered him out of her 
home. 

Had he used drugs the morning she was killed? 
Probably — but diminished responsibility brought about 
through the use of mind-altering substances or liquor is 
not a defense. Dusty had decided of his own free will to 
ingest LSD, and perhaps other drugs. 

Judge Chan returned a verdict of guilty of first-degree 
murder, which carried with it a mandatory life sentence 
(which meant, actually, thirteen years and four months), 
with a consecutive five-year sentence for the use of a 
deadly weapon — his mother's favorite cooking knife — 
while committing her murder. 

Lorraine Millroy had lived on the edge of disaster. The 
Washington State law — passed to protect the rights of 
the individual — that forbade committing an individual to 
an institution unless he was patently and demonstrably 

249 



ANN RULE 

dangerous to himself or others was soon modified. For 
Lorraine Millroy, the new law came too late. 

Prosecutor Lee Yates never denied that the entire case 
wasn't marked by pathos and tragedy, yet he stressed that 
under the M'Naughton Rule, Dusty Millroy had indeed 
known the difference between right and wrong at the mo- 
ment he plunged a kitchen knife again and again into the 
neck and breast of the one person in the world who had 
tried desperately to save him. 



Lee Yates went on to prosecute a number of homicide 
cases successfully, and then he went to work at the Public 
Defender's Office, helping accused people who had no 
funds to hire defense attorneys. He also became a stock 
car racing driver. 

Sam Hicks and Leo Hursh worked closely together in 
solving Lorraine Millroy 's murder, and they would inves- 
tigate many other cases in the next three and a half years. 
Hicks was a tall, broad-shouldered man, whose desk sat 
in the middle of many desks in the Major Crimes Unit of 
the King County Sheriff's Office. He was usually smil- 
ing. I remember taking photographs of him with a Rollei 
camera, one that was guaranteed never to shoot double 
exposures. 

And yet, when I had them developed, in three of the 
frames, there were two images of Sam, a transparent 
image superimposed on a more solid picture. No camera 
expert could explain that to me. They had never seen it 
before with a Rollei. 

Perhaps it was an omen. 

250 



SHARPER THAN A SERPENT'S TOOTH 

A few weeks later — in June 1982 — Sam Hicks and Leo 
Hursh went to a farmhouse in Black Diamond, the ghost 
of a one-time booming coal mining town. The rickety 
building sat back from the road, isolated from other dwell- 
ings. The two detectives wanted only to question a thirty- 
one-year-old man about the homicide death of a 
Seattle rock musician. 

They didn't expect trouble. 

But, as they left their police unit, shots rang out. They 
had no other choice than to crouch down in the open, per- 
fect targets for someone who was firing a rifle at them 
from the barn. 

Sam Hicks was killed instantly, and Leo Hursh injured. 
I went to Sam's ftineral and then joined the miles-long 
cortege to the cemetery. 

It was one of the saddest good-byes I've ever seen, with 
thousands of citizens standing along the route in honor of 
a good cop. 

Where is Dusty Millroy now? I'm not sure. He is not in 
prison, he's not listed in death records, but someone with 
his name is listed in the phone book of a small town in 
Washington State. Not to protect him, but to protect the 
privacy of his sister and his father, I have chosen to use 
pseudonyms for this family, a family who sadly mirrored 
an upheaval in America that changed our world as we 
knew it. 



251 



MONOHAN'S 
LAST DATE 



i 



The seventies were, indeed, a strange decade. All 
manner of people were attempting to break free of the 
constraints put upon them by society and religion. "Swing- 
ing" was in, with many married couples switching part- 
ners and previously staid, new experimenters being drawn 
into "orgies." In 2007, an hour-long television series 
traced the fictional lives of thirtyish suburban residents in 
the seventies who changed partners as if they were at a 
square dance. It didn't last for a second season; there was 
something distasteful and even base about it. Despite 
some shocking aspects of the new millennium, swinging 
has never returned in the epidemic sweep that it once had. 
It seems crass, contrived, and sordid. 

The puzzling death of a Northwest man who was 
leading two lives — until he came to the end of both of 
them — occupied investigators from three police agen- 
cies for three years, and in the unfolding of this amoral 
case, even experienced detectives were shocked at the 
sadism and perversion of the man who would emerge as 
a killer. 

If there is evil in man — and there must be — Franklin 

255 



ANN RULE 

Monohan's murderer had to be the living embodiment of 
all the greed, viciousness, and ugliness imaginable. 

The first report came in to the Chelan County sheriff's 
dispatcher as an "unattended death." Chelan County, 
Washington, is on the eastern side of the vast Cascade 
Mountain range that bisects Washington and Oregon. In 
spring, summer, and part of fall, it is apple-growing 
country, where the best Delicious apples in the country 
ripen. In winter, it is very cold, and the edges along the 
shore of Lake Chelan, one of the largest lakes in Amer- 
ica, sparkle with ice. 

You can get to Chelan County by choosing one of three 
passes, although sometimes two of them are closed be- 
cause of avalanches and icy roads. It was spring when a 
young couple traveled from Seattle along 1-90, turning 
just beyond Roslyn and Cle Elum to take the scenic 
Blewett Pass approach toward the city of Wenatchee. 
Blewett's summit is at 4,102 feet, eleven hundred feet 
higher than Snoqualmie Pass. There are precious few 
stops as the road up to the summit climbs higher and 
higher, so the driver pulled over to the side of the road to 
relieve himself in one of the thick stands of evergreens. 

It was sixteen minutes after eight in the morning on the 
fine spring day of May 28, 1975. 

The man walked off the roadway, almost unerringly to 
the one spot where he viewed a silent tableau that would 
stay with him, hauntingly, for years. Had he moved even a 
few feet to the right or left, the corpse would have been 
hidden by the firs and budding cottonwood trees. He 
didn't see it at first because he was intent on the urgency 
of his mission. But then he turned. 

256 



MONOHAN'S LAST DATE 

It was not a pretty sight, and the man ran to the car 
where his wife waited, scarcely saying a word to her. They 
drove farther on, looking for a public phone but there 
weren't any, so he stood beside the roadway, waving fran- 
tically at passing cars. Fortunately, a Washington State 
Patrol trooper was also headed for Wenatchee that morn- 
ing, and he skidded to a stop on the roadside gravel when 
he saw the man flagging him down. 

"There's something back there . . ." he gasped. "It's ex- 
actly two and a half miles north of the summit." 

His shocked state of mind said more than his words, 
and the trooper picked up his radio. The Washington State 
Patrol deals principally with traffic problems. Today, they 
run a very sophisticated crime laboratory — but in 1975, 
they were not geared for homicide investigations. As the 
trooper learned more details, he gave information that was 
relayed to chief criminal deputy Bill Patterson at the 
Chelan Count}' Sheriff's headquarters in Wenatchee. 

Patterson and Detective Jerry Monroe responded to the 
body site, which was nearly forty miles from their office. 
They realized at once that they would have to follow a trail 
that stretched back for months. All they found was a fro- 
zen and decomposing corpse that had been tossed into a 
snowbank, one that was now melting. 

As they left their office, Patterson and Monroe had had 
the foresight to alert Dr. Robert Bonafaci, the Chelan 
County medical examiner, that a body had apparently 
been found. They requested that the skilled pathologist 
join them atop the pass. 

It was approximately ten a.m. when the investigators 
began their probe. Patterson, who would live, eat, and 

257 



ANN RULE 

sleep with the case for the next two years, had no warning 
that the body discovery would be the opening of a Pando- 
ra's box of intrigue. 

They stared at the corpse that rested twenty-two feet 
from the edge of the road. It wasn't visible to cars driving 
by. Until recently, it would have been buried under many 
feet of snow, but the spring thaw had begun to expose it. 
The dead man wasn't a hunter; his clothes were all wrong 
for that. The man was fairly tall, and he was dressed in 
expensive clothing. 

That was about all they could be sure of at this point. 
Skin slippage and decomposition had made his facial fea- 
tures unrecognizable. 

Dr. Bonafaci commented that the man still had his own 
teeth, which had a noticeable overbite. There was no jew- 
elry or other identification on the body, and fingei"printing 
would be useless now. The body wore a long-sleeved 
beige sweater over a white shirt, dark blue double-knit 
trousers, and laced-up black oxfords. Except where it had 
been chewed by animals, the clothing was in excellent 
condition. 

Monroe and Bonafaci took pictures of the scene prior 
to the body's removal for postmortem examination. If he 
had any money when he died, he had scarcely any now. 
The detectives found only a comb, a handkerchief, a quar- 
ter, a nickel, and three dimes. These items were bagged 
and marked for evidence. 

Bonafaci said it might be impossible to tell how long 
the body had lain beside the lonely mountain pass road. 
The deep snow had frozen the corpse. "He could have 
been damped as far back as October of 1974." 

258 



MONOHAN'S LAST DATE 

The dead man certainly wasn't dressed like the thou- 
sands of migrant workers who pour into Chelan County 
each spring and stay until the harvest is over. They are the 
most frequent homicide victims for whom the sheriff's 
men try to bring some justice. Inevitably, many of them 
are killed in fights over liquor or women or frustration at 
their lot in life and dumped unceremoniously in secluded 
spots. The harvest workers move on to the next crop, often 
in some far-off place, and the victims are forgotten. 

But this man didn't appear to be one of that great trav- 
eling class. This man's clothing spoke of taste and money, 
although he certainly didn't have any cash left on him 
now. 

Besides snow, the body was covered with sand and 
gravel. "That means he's been here through the winter," 
Patterson commented. "The snowplows would have show- 
ered the gravel over the bank during the winter." 

As the body was lifted by the deputies, its nether side 
came into view. Neither Patterson, Monroe, nor Dr. Bonafaci 
could find any obvious exterior wounds that would account 
for the death. 

"I may be able to tell more tomorrow," Bonafaci said, 
"after I've completed the autopsy." 

The labels from the victim's clothing were cut off and 
retained, but they wouldn't help a great deal; although it 
was high-end stuff, the labels were fi'om clothing lines that 
were produced by companies with hundreds of outlets. 

News of the body discovery was published in local 
papers and on the evenmg news, and citizens began to 
respond by the next morning. A Wenatchee man called 
Chief Patterson to say that he had driven across Blewett 

259 



ANN RULE 

Pass on November 1, 1974, in a snowstorm. "Me and my 
wife thought we heard a man calling for help around 
where they found the body. It was kind of scary. We 
stopped, turned the car around, and went back, turned the 
radio off, held our breaths even and listened, but we never 
saw anything. We finally decided it must have been the 
wind in the trees or something on the car radio. Never 
thought about it again 'til I read the paper." 

That was possible. Winter comes early to the summit of 
Blewett Pass, and according to Bonafaci the body could 
conceivably have been there that long. 

The medical examiner performed the postmortem exam 
of the still-unidentified body while Patterson observed. 
Bonafaci located a small metal fi-agment between the dead 
man's tongue and right mandible (jawbone). It appeared to 
be part of a shattered bullet. Probing ftirther, he found 
more pieces of lead in the soft: tissue as he removed the 
jawbone. The skull itself was not fi-actured, nor was the 
brain damaged. Due to the advanced state of decomposi- 
tion, the skull was retained for X-rays. 

Blood typing wouldn't help. DNA hadn't been discov- 
ered yet. Putrefaction had destroyed all typing factors. 
Had there been any alcohol present in the blood, it had 
long since dissipated. 

The dead man had been five feet eleven inches tall and 
had probably weighed about 180 pounds. Although Dr. 
Bonafaci suspected the cause of death had been a pene- 
trating bullet wound, it would take more tests to verify 
that. 

X-rays did show scattered metal fragments. Bonafaci 
interpreted the films as showing that the victim had been 

260 



MONOHAN'S LAST DATE 

shot high in the back of the neck, and that the bullet had 
traveled forward and ended up, spent, in the oral cavity. 

French fried potatoes were still discernible in the stom- 
ach, indicating that the victim had eaten them shortly 
before he died. 

"These hemorrhagic lungs — without free blood in the 
stomach — point to instant death," Bonafaci explained. 
"The wound track undoubtedly severed or at least severely 
damaged the cervical spinal cord." 

Any call for help from the unknown victim could not 
have been heard by anyone — ^unless he realized that he 
was in danger just before the fatal shot. 

After the first flurry of calls, the response from 
Wenatchee-area citizens was sparse, and Patterson sent 
out bulletins to law enforcement agencies around the 
state asking if they had any currently missing men who 
met the description of his "John Doe" body. The Chelan 
County investigators believed the mystery man had been 
between thirty-five and forty-five, but they couldn't be 
sure. 

Bill Patterson also checked with local garages to see 
if there were any unclaimed abandoned cars that might 
have belonged to the dead man. Again, he found nothing 
that fit. 

The victim couldn't have walked up the mountain pass 
and down the other side, and he didn't look like a hitch- 
hiker. It was more likely that he'd had a car and that it had 
been stolen, or possibly he was riding with someone he 
knew and trusted and there 'd been an argument. 

"We just don't know," Patterson admitted. "We have no 
idea what happened." 

261 



ANN RULE 

He and Deputy Whaley drove back up to the summit of 
Blewett Pass and spent hours with a metal detector search- 
ing for a gun that might have been the fatal weapon. All 
they found among the sword ferns, wild huckleberries, 
and meadow daisies were beer cans and junk metal, plus 
some liquor and beer bottles. The victim could have been 
killed anywhere; the route via Snoqualmie Pass and then 
Blewett to Wenatchee and further east is the most popular 
choice of travelers in the summer and fall. 

This was a likely spot to get rid of excess baggage. 

The Kittitas County Sheriff's Office — whose jurisdic- 
tion adjoined Chelan County to the south — notified Pat- 
terson that they, too, had found a body of a middle-aged 
man who was initially unidentified. 

"He was alongside a county road with a .22 bullet in his 
head," the Kittitas detective said. "We got a report on the 
body on the fifth of March. We found out who he was, 
though." 

"Who was he?" Patterson asked wearily. 

"Kind of a character. He was running for president on a 
kooky campaign, asking people to write his name in. He 
was his own main supporter." 

The flamboyant victim in the Kittitas County case had 
planned to run in 1976 on a platform of minimal taxes and 
maximum benefits for "the little man." 

His platform included a man-made bridge from Alaska 
to Russia, a new monetary system, taxation for all churches, 
return of all service people abroad, and complete amnesty 
for Vietnam defectors. 

The would-be president's murder remained unsolved. 
His peculiar philosophies might have been enough to 

262 



MONOHAN'S LAST DATE 

annoy his killer, but there seemed to be little to link him to 
the body in Chelan County except for body location, age, 
and manner of death. 

The metal fragments removed from the Blewett Pass 
victim were weighed in an attempt to determine the 
caliber of the bullet that had killed him. The largest 
fragment weighed 28.6 grams, the smaller piece 1.7, for a 
combined total of 30.3 grams. Ballistics experts said that a 
.22-caliber long rifle slug, when whole, weighed 40 grams, 
leading investigators to believe the gun they were looking 
for was probably a .22-caliber rifle. Allowing for some of 
the fragments that had scattered, the weight was close. 

At this point, however, the rifle didn't seem as impor- 
tant as finding the identity of the dead man, who remained 
nameless for almost a week. 

That mystery, at least, would be solved in the weeks 
ahead. 



More than 1 50 miles away from Blewett Pass — in Seattle — 
Detective Bud Jelberg, who handled missing persons and 
psychiatric cases for the Seattle Police Department, read 
the bulletin sent out by Bill Patterson. Jelberg had had a 
missing person file open on his desk for almost six months 
on a man named Franklin Lee Monohan. Monohan, forty- 
nine, had been missing since mid-December 1974 under 
circumstances that were most peculiar. 

Frank Monohan had been reported missing by his 
estranged wife on January 8, 1975. The couple had been 
separated since early November 1 974, and Monohan had 
moved into an apartment fashioned fi-om a loft in his 

263 



ANN RULE 

office. He ran a successful engineering business in the 
area near SeaTac airport. Despite the recent marital split, 
his wife said it was extremely unusual for him to let 
Christmas pass without making any effort to get in touch 
with his family. 

Monohan was not a graduate engineer but a self-taught 
genius. His mastery in designing machine parts to specifi- 
cation had built the foundation of his highly lucrative 
business. He owned his own plane — one that still sat at a 
British Columbia airport, where it had seemingly been 
abandoned sometime in early December. 

Monohan 's checking account had a balance of well over 
$5,000, and it hadn't been touched since December. 

Bud Jelberg understood the family's concern for the 
missing man. If Monohan had decided to disappear into 
greener pastures, he certainly would have cleared out his 
bank accounts and taken his money with him. He probably 
would have chosen to fly his own plane. 

Jelberg had studied the pictures of the friendly-looking 
man, and set out to find him in early 1975. He'd found 
many people who left fewer signs behind, but the Seattle 
police's missing-persons expert discovered Monohan 's 
vanishing was one of the most difficult cases in his career. 

First, he'd contacted a former business partner, Tom 
Greco,* who was used to seeing Monohan almost daily. 
Greco said he'd been concerned about his friend. He 
hadn't seen Frank, nor had any of the other friends Greco 
had questioned. 

"I traced, back, and realized the last time I saw him was 
on December 12," Greco told Jelberg. "If he leaves town 
on business, he always calls me after a couple of days, 

264 



MONOHAN'S LAST DATE 

and he never leaves his plane at the airport for so long." 

Jelberg checked traffic tickets, vehicle registrations, 
hospitals around the state, and found nothing indicating 
Monohan had been in an accident. There had been no ac- 
tivity in his personal checking account since the first of 
December. The last activity in his commercial account 
was on December 12. The most recent hits on the Standard 
Oil computer for credit card use were also noted as having 
been on December 12. 

Accompanied by the missing man's estranged wife, 
Detective Jelberg went to Monohan 's office. As she turned 
her key, they saw that everything was covered with dust — 
motes floating eerily in the air where light beams cut 
through the dimness. Still, there was no indication that a 
struggle had taken place there. Whatever had been there 
before seemed to remain, all neatly in place. 

In the loft apartment, the pair found the missing man's 
clothes, food-stocked cupboards, and the other things a 
newly single man would choose to ftirnish a temporary 
home. 

It looked as if Frank Monohan had stepped out to go to 
lunch and never returned. His wife said he'd always car- 
ried an American Express card. Reaching into the incom- 
ing mail drop in his office, Jelberg pulled out a number of 
envelopes that had been delivered since December 1974. 
One of them was an unopened bill from American 
Express. Finally, he had found evidence that someone had 
made purchases on Monohan 's corporate card. There were 
many receipt slips for charges made after December 12. 

Jelberg handed them to Mrs. Monohan, and she studied 
the signatures. 

265 



ANN RULE 

"These weren't signed by Frank," she gasped. "These 
on the fourteenth and fifteenth of December. His normal 
signature is 'F. L. Monohan,' and these are signed 'Frank' 
and 'Franklyn,' and they definitely aren't in his handwrit- 
ing." 

They found more charges from American Express for 
Monohan 's card, most of them from the sprawling South- 
center Mall where Frank had his office. They were from 
toy stores, women's intimate apparel stores, a men's cloth- 
ing store, and several others. Someone had gone on a 
spending spree with the missing man's charge card. 

After they locked up, Jelberg and Monohan 's estranged 
wife looked for his pickup with its canopy, half expecting 
to find it parked nearby. But it wasn't. If Frank Monohan 
had become one of the army of souls who simply decided 
to "drop out," he apparently had done so with only the 
clothes on his back. He could have lived a sumptuous life 
for a long time, but he left it all behind. 

Strange. 

Jelberg went to the stores listed on the American 
Express, but most of the purchases had been made during 
the Christmas rush, and the clerks had trouble recalling just 
who had made these charges. Many were no longer em- 
ployed there, as they'd been temporary holiday salespeople. 
For those who did have a vague recollection of the sales, 
they could remember only that there were "two men." 

Next, Standard Oil bills began to trickle in to Mono- 
han 's office addiess. All the receipts showed charges made 
after December 12. Gas and other items had been pur- 
chased in Lynnwood, fifteen miles north of Seattle, and 
south a thousand miles to Los Angeles, and back again to 

266 



MONOHAN'S LAST DATE 

Sacramento. The license number listed on the slips was 
not for Monohan's truck but rather for a sedan registered 
to a California couple, a couple whose home address was 
listed in the Seal Beach area — on Long Beach Harbor. 

Jelberg felt he was getting closer. Maybe his missing 
man was having a midlife crisis and had taken off with a 
younger woman who had a child. That would account for 
the toys someone had bought. Maybe the woman had 
signed Frank's name with his permission. 

Jelberg called Sergeant Buzzard of the Seal Beach 
Police Department and asked that the couple be contacted. 
Buzzard soon reported back that the man who owned the 
car in question — a 1968 Pontiac — was the owner and 
manager of a building supply firm in Seal Beach. 

"This guy says he uses only Union Oil cards to buy 
gas," Buzzard explained. "But he has several truck drivers 
who work for him and they often have access to his 
vehicle. When they borrow his car, they put gas in it." 

"You have their names?" Jelberg asked. 

"Right. There's four men who live here in California. 
There are two headquartered in Portland, Oregon. That's 
Al Bryson* and Don Majors." 

Buzzard said he felt the owner of the 1 968 Pontiac was 
telling the truth. 

"He seems totally straight and cooperative with me. I'll 
see if I can get you rap sheets on the California employees 
who had access to the Pontiac." 

Back in Washington, Detective Jelberg checked for pos- 
sible criminal records on either Al Bryson or Don Majors. 
Bryson was clean, but Majors had a current warrant out for 
him from Grant County, Washington. 

267 



ANN RULE 

The missing persons investigator had pulled the loose 
end of a string that would keep unraveling. Grant County 
authorities confirmed that Don Majors also had an out- 
standing warrant in Wyoming for grand larceny by check. 
Since Majors often lived in Grant County, the Washington 
agency was looking for him as an assist to Wyoming. They 
promised Jelberg they would do a discreet investigation 
into Majors 's background. 

In the meantime, Jelberg issued a request to all agencies 
to search for the still missing canopied pickup belonging to 
Frank Monohan. No one in Seal Beach had seen it. 

The first information on Don Majors came in: Majors 
had two birthdates of record. Grant County detectives 
believed that the documents that listed his birthday as 
September 13, 1922, were probably accurate. "He's very 
tall — somewhere between six foot three to six foot five," 
the Grant County investigator said. "And skinny. But his 
description tends to vary like his birthdays." 

"Where's he live?" Jelberg asked. 

"Not sure. His ex-wife and twenty-year-old daughter 
still live in Quincy, Washington, but Majors himself is in 
and out of town, and usually on the road. 

"We're sending you his rap sheet," the Grant County 
contact said. 

How Don Majors might have come to know the miss- 
ing Frank Monohan was a puzzle to Jelberg. Quincy was 
thirty-five miles east of Wenatchee. The men lived across 
the state from each other — separated by a towering moun- 
tain range — and Monohan was a respected and wealthy 
businessman, while Majors 's activities seemed to be ques- 
tionable at the very least. 

268 



MONOHAN'S LAST DATE 

When Majors 's rap sheet arrived, Jelberg was even 
more surprised. It was thick enough to indicate decades of 
criminal activity. Majors was presently a fugitive from not 
only the Wyoming warrant but from a bench warrant in 
Grant County for not complying with the conditions of his 
parole release from prison. 

"His last known address is in George, Washington," 

Grant County detectives said in a follow-up phone call. 

"But the most recent place we have reports about him was 

j in Portland, Oregon, where he goes under the name of 

^ Donald Thompson." 

Jelberg studied the mug shot of Donald Majors aka 
Donald Thompson aka who else? He was thin to the point 
of gauntness, and high cheekbones and sunken cheeks 
made his face almost cadaverous. He resembled more 
than anything an old-time western villain who smoked too 
much, drank too much rotgut whiskey, and probably had 
tuberculosis. His eyes were like a fox's, piercing and 
light-colored. He wore metal-framed glasses and an old- 
fashioned handlebar mustache. 

With twenty-five more pounds on him, he could be 
handsome. In this mug shot, Don Majors looked as though 
he had lived his entire life dissolutely. 

Bud Jelberg still couldn't figure out the connection 
between Don Majors/Thompson and Frank Monahan, but 
they were both missing, and Jelberg asked permission to 
open the safe in Monohan's office. 

In spite of his years of experience in the Seattle Police 
Department, Jelberg was startled by what he discovered in 
that safe. As he looked through letters, pictures, and 
printed material, he found that the highly successfiil and 

269 



ANN RULE 

respected businessman had been leading a double life, a 
life unknown to his closest friends or his family. Frank 
Monohan had apparently been deeply involved in "swing- 
ing," exchanging sexual intimacies with perfect strangers, 
the singles and couples who advertised in his collection of 
erotic publications: Swingers' Magazine, Sandra's Erotic 
Journal, and others of that ilk. 

Jelberg sat back on his heels as he thumbed through the 
safe's contents. He wasn't expecting to find this. He'd 
thought Monohan might have had tax problems, or been 
afraid that he'd be caught embezzling, or, most likely, that 
he had left with a woman much different from his wife. 

The magazines and mail in the safe didn't fit with any of 
that. Would-be sexual contacts had sent their pictures in 
various stages of undress, including completely naked 
poses. They were holding whips, handcuffs, black leather 
masks, and phallic-shaped vibrators, along with all manner 
of kinky sexual toys. The advertisers' sexual preferences 
were printed in black and white, although you had to speak 
another language to understand them. "French, Greek, 
B. and D. [bondage and discipline.]" The far-out fantasies 
listed in the magazines required very creative minds to 
imagine them. 

Jelberg lifted out a photo album with dozens of obvi- 
ously private snapshots that many women had mailed to 
Frank Monohan. Some of the women who posed naked for 
an unknown person's Polaroid camera were beautiful; oth- 
ers would have had trouble being picked up in a dark bar 
at "last call" by a man who'd had five martinis. 

The poses were obscene, and there was no question 
about the kind of appetites they were trying to whet. There 

270 



MONOHAN'S LAST DATE 

were photographs of men, too: a handsome, powerful- 
looking man sitting naked on a bar stool in his recreation 
room, holding a torture device, a cruel smile on his lips. 
His pretty wife, with a whip in her hands, sat nude beside 
him. 

Don Majors 's picture was in the album, too. And as Jel- 
berg studied his photo, he knew he had found the connec- 
tion to Frank Monohan. Majors was engaged in a perverted 
sexual act with a female whose face was obscured. 

Jelberg would try to identify the other women posing 
with Majors. Maybe he could build stronger links between 
the dead man and the missing man. 

Frank Monohan had kept not only the correspondence 
from other swingers but also carbons of his own responses. 
He had always been an efficient businessman. 

Sometime in the past few years, Monohan 's life had 
changed radically: he'd become obsessed with the pursuit 
of kinky sex. And yet he had apparently managed to carry 
on his business, too, and to keep his sex-driven world a 
secret from those who knew him as he once had been. 
Maybe he'd always been drawn to the forbidden and 
erotic, and, at forty-eight, had simply decided to leave his 
marriage and give in to his heretofore hidden impulses. 

Jelberg had little doubt now that Frank Monohan was 
probably dead. He'd been walking on the wild side, a 
tempting target for people who used the sex trade for 
profit. But his body had never been found. Legally, it 
would take seven years for Monohan to be officially de- 
clared deceased if his remains were never found or proof 
of his death wasn't firmly established. 

Jelberg believed in his bones that the mysterious Don 

271 



ANN RULE 

Majors was involved in whatever had happened to Frank 
Monohan. But how could he prove it? In those early 
months of 1975, Monohan 's body had not been found. 
Sometimes, Bud Jelberg doubted his own intuition, and he 
could almost picture Monohan drinking a piiia colada on a 
balmy beach far away, laughing because he'd pulled of the 
perfect escape from a boring life in the clammy, rainy 
atmosphere of the Northwest. 

Not likely. 

The missing persons detective knew less about Don 
Majors; he was gone, too. 

"Maybe Majors is the dead one," Jelberg commented to 
Detective Joyce Johnson, who had the desk next to his. 
"Maybe I've figured it out all wrong." 

More credit-card slips came in, and Jelberg added them 
to Frank Monohan 's file. His American Express card had 
been used at the Holiday Inn in the Duwamish Slough 
area, just south of the Seattle city limits, on December 13, 
1974. Monohan 's true signature had been used to sign for 
a steak dinner for three, and then to pay for two deluxe 
rooms. 

But that was the last time Frank Monohan himself used 
the card. A day later, a new signature had signed for pur- 
chases at a boutique in Southcenter Mall (for black mesh 
stockings and a black satin waist cincher), at Toys Galore 
(for electric train equipment and tracks), and for expensive 
men's clothing at an exclusive men's store. Armed with 
Majors 's mug shot, Jelberg showed his picture and other 
mug shots to a new group of clerks. This time he hit at 
least a spoonful of pay dirt. They looked at a "laydown," a 



272 



MONOHAN'S LAST DATE 

collection of photographs including both Monohan and 
Majors, and they all chose the missing trucker as the man 
who'd used Frank Monohan 's credit card. 

Monohan 's truck, an orange 1969 Ford pickup, was 
located in a towing yard. A man who wanted to buy such a 
vehicle had spotted it there and called one of Monohan 's 
relatives asking about the price. The truck had been 
dumped surreptitiously on the huge towing yard lot, and 
because they took only sporadic inventory, the owners 
were completely unaware it was there. 

Detective Joyce Johnson had the truck impounded and 
towed to headquarters, where it was processed. Nothing of 
evidentiary value was found in the truck. 

This was the status of the search for Frank Monohan in 
early June 1975 when Deputy Bill Patterson of Chelan 
County sent out his request for help in identifying the 
body found on Blewett Pass. 

Bud Jelberg immediately forwarded dental X-rays of 
the missing Monohan for comparison with those of the 
corpse. If the body was Monohan 's, at least they would 
solve the first part of the mystery of what had become of 
him. Jelberg even had a prime suspect — Donald Kennedy 
Majors — who was still at large. 

Moreover, the Seattle detectives already had a handle 
on the motive for murder. Monohan had been fair game 
for the swingers he'd been in touch with, and Majors 
swung with the best of them. 

Dr. Bonafaci and Bill Patterson took Monohan 's dental 
chart to Dr. M. L. Westerberg's dental office. Westerberg 
studied the two charts intently. Finally, he looked up. 



273 



ANN RULE 

"I'm positive it's the same man. There's one chance in a 
half million that this chart could belong to anyone other 
than Frank Monohan." 



Since the victim's body had been found in Chelan County, 
Patterson would be the principal investigator in the 
murder case. He knew who his victim was now, and he 
knew who the main suspect was, but he still had to find 
Don Majors. And he had to find some testimony or 
physical evidence that would bind Majors inextricably to 
the killing. 

Despite Majors 's identification as someone who proba- 
bly used Monohan 's credit cards, it wasn't an absolute 
fact. And that was what Bill Patterson needed to take his 
case to the Chelan County prosecuting attorney. 

That would not be easy. 

By the time Bill Patterson finished with Don Majors, he 
would know more about the wily trucker than Majors 's 
own mother. Some of the people the chief deputy con- 
tacted were horrified to find themselves linked to Don 
Majors. The thought that their hidden sex lives might be 
revealed left them pale and shaken, and their words tum- 
bled over each other as they hastened to make up excuses. 
In truth, they were aghast to learn that their "advertise- 
ments" in swingers' magazines had now come to the atten- 
tion of a sheriff's detective. A few admitted knowing Don 
Majors, while others stoutly insisted the whole thing was a 
mistake, and they had never willingly participated in such 
advertisements. 

Many were professional people who were "pillars of 

274 



MONOHAN'S LAST DATE 

their communities." One man finally admitted that he'd 
met Majors through an ad in The Seekers, a swingers' 
magazine. "I met him and his ex-wife in '68," the man 
recalled. "Majors called me after I answered his ad. I met 
him at his place in Quincy and he introduced me to a gal. 
Later on, I worked on the trucks with him." 

The embarrassed man said that Majors liked to brag, 
and claimed to have been a "hit man" in Chicago. "He said 
he kept a twelve-gauge sawed-off shotgun down his pants 
leg, but I think he made it all up." 

Most people Patterson interviewed still believed that 
Don Majors was primarily a truck driver. His CB handle 
was, ironically, "Dudley Do-Right." 

"There was one place he always used to show up," the 
informant said. "Even though I heard he was driving for 
that outfit in Seal Beach, he never used to miss the fourth 
Saturday of every month at the Scarlet Circle Dance Club 
in Portland. That's when the interested swingers get 
together." 

"When was the last time you saw him?" Patterson 
asked. 

"Sometime after the first of the year." 

"What was he driving?" 

"As I recall, it was a bronze 1966 Chevy Impala with 
Nebraska plates. I didn't look at the plate numbers." 

"Was he alone?" 

The informant shook his head. "He had a woman with 
him — he told me he'd met her sometime in January 1975 
in a motel in Nebraska." 

Even for a cross-country trucker, Don Majors was peri- 
patetic. He was reported here, there, and everywhere — 

275 



ANN RULE 

and always as a faithful fourth-Saturday attendee at the 
Scarlet Circle Dance Club in Portland, Oregon. 

Despite his degenerate appearance and skinny frame, 
Don Majors seemed to affect women the way catnip did 
cats. He'd been living with a divorcee, Gerda Goss,* in 
Quincy, sharing her home with her and her teenage son. 
Curt,* until sometime in December. Majors also kept up 
cordial relations with his ex-wife, and had, indeed, used 
her picture when he advertised in the swingers' magazines 
(albeit without her knowledge). 

He had brought his newest girlfriend, Shireen Gillespie,* 
to visit his ex-loves in Washington sometime in January, 
and they had apparently spent their nights in several homes 
where he'd once been welcomed as a lover. 

If any of the former women in his life knew where Ma- 
jors was, they weren't telling Bill Patterson. Neither his 
wife nor his former girlfriends professed to know anything 
about Frank Monohan. They shook their heads and said 
they had never heard his name. All they knew was that 
Majors and Shireen had left Quincy in her bronze Impala 
sometime during the late winter months. 

With cooperation from other law enforcement agen- 
cies, Patterson arranged for stakeouts to be placed in the 
locations where Majors was known to visit. 

But the Chevy Impala didn't surface. 

Patterson tried another tactic. He checked out phone 
calls that were charged to Monohan 's credit card long after 
he vanished. Many of the people the Chelan County detec- 
tive called denied that they even knew Don Majors. And 
nobody admitted being acquainted with Frank Monohan. 

Patterson suspected that he wasn't always hearing the 

276 



MONOHAN'S LAST DATE 

truth, but he understood the swingers' fear of discovery. 
Finding witnesses was next to impossible. 

Patterson began to backtrack on Don Majors 's behavior 
in mid-December 1974. That was shortly after Monohan 
disappeared. He spoke again with store personnel where 
Monohan 's credit card had been used, and learned that 
Majors had been accompanied by a younger man. 

"I would judge him to be possibly in his thirties," one 
store owner said. "He didn't say much." 

The witness tapped a mug shot photo Patterson held. 
"This guy — you say his name is Majors — he did all the 
talking. We thought the young guy might have been his 
son." 

All of the clerks picked Don Majors 's picture from a 
ten- subject laydown as the middle-aged man who had 
made purchases in their stores. 

Don Majors had spent thousands of dollars on Decem- 
ber 14 — purchasing everything from sexy underwear to 
cameras worth three or four hundred dollars. Monohan 's 
American Express card had also been used at a jewelry 
store in Yakima, Washington, a day or so later. For some 
reason, Majors was hopping all over the state. 

"Maybe he just had the Christmas spirit," Patterson said 
sardonically. "He seems to have been buying presents for 
a lot of people." 



While he was finding out more about "Dudley Do-Right" 
Majors, Bill Patterson was also interviewing Frank Mono- 
han 's family and friends in depth. They all knew him as a 
solid businessman, not given to extravagance. When he 

277 



ANN RULE 

moved away from his family home, he could well have af- 
forded an expensive apartment. Instead, he had simply put 
a bed, refrigerator, and a phone into the storeroom off his 
office. There were no windows there, and it was stuffy and 
drab. 

"Frank always carried his Standard Oil card, the Ameri- 
can Express card, and a phone credit card," one close 
friend said. "He usually carried only seven or eight dollars 
in cash," another friend added. "But he kept a hundred- 
dollar bill hidden in his wallet all the time — for emergen- 
cies. I don't recall that he ever had to use it." 

Monohan's two best friends said they'd had dinner with 
him at the Duwamish Holiday Inn on December 1 2 and he 
had paid for the meal with his American Express card. 

"I know he was alive during the day of the thirteenth," 
one former business associate said, "because I got a ques- 
tion from a ferry company about some work Frank did for 
them that day." 

Frank Monohan's relatives told Patterson that his $300 
watch was missing, along with a cowhide attache case. His 
wallet — made out of alligator — was gone, too. And his 
electric shaver. 

When Monohan's pickup was recovered, there were 
only 289.4 miles on the odometer since the last time it had 
been serviced. 

"We know he put about two hundred of those miles on 
in short trips we were aware of," a young male relative 
said, "but somebody put ninety miles more on the odome- 
ter. That wasn't enough to get up to Blewett Pass and back. 
So someone must have driven him up to the summit in 
their car." 

278 



MONOHAN'S LAST DATE 

The letters from potential sexual partners had contin- 
ued to pour into Monohan's letter drop long after he was 
dead. They were shocking and disturbing to his family, 
none of whom had any idea about his involvement with 
that element of society. 

These swingers' letters were turned over to Bill Patter- 
son. Some were from way across America, but several 
were in the Seattle or Wenatchee area. Detective Jelberg 
also had a packet of red-hot correspondence sent to Mono- 
han from people he'd already met, and these too were 
turned over to Patterson. 

Was the answer to what had really motivated Frank 
Monohan's murder buried somewhere in the torrid scrawls 
on perfume-scented stationery or in the flat-out pornogra- 
phy typed on plain white sheets? 

Possibly. There were several letters either to or from 
Don Majors. Majors mostly wrote about how he was going 
to set Frank up with his ex-wife. Majors 's tactical approach 
seemed to be a refinement of the old "badger game": he 
promised much but delivered little. He had kept Frank 
Monohan dangling, with explicit details of his ex-wife's 
charms and descriptions of her body. He kept assuring 
Monohan that their meeting was imminent. 

And all the while, the poor woman had had no idea of 
what her ex-husband was doing. 

Patterson felt sure he had found Frank Monohan's 
killer. All he had to do was find Don Majors. 

Word came from a California detective, Wayne Hunter, 
in Sacramento. A stolen credit card owned by an Elroy 
Smollett* was being used to buy gas for a car registered to 
the woman Majors was traveling with — Shireen Gillespie. 

279 



ANN RULE 

The bronze Impala was gone, and they were now driv- 
ing a maroon 1966 Chevrolet. 

"We have copies of gas-charge receipts made from 
Idaho, south through northern California," Hunter said. 
"The last address we have for Elroy Smollett was in Sacra- 
mento." 

"Could you contact him?" Patterson asked. "And ask 
him what the circumstances were when he lost his gas 
card?" 

Detective Wayne Hunter called back later the same day. 
"Smollett says he was visiting a man named Ted Aust* in 
May and that there was a man there named 'Don.' Smollett 
says he'd left his wallet out in his car while they were 
doing some remodeling. He didn't notice the card was 
gone until sometime in June and reported it stolen then." 

"Did he describe this 'Don'?" Patterson asked. 

"Yeah. The guy is way over six feet tall, skinny, and he 
has a handlebar mustache. Smollett thinks he's in his late 
forties or early fifties." 

It was Majors. It had to be. Patterson winced as he real- 
ized that his quarry now had himself a different car and 
credit card. At least the investigators looking for him were 
able to trace him, and Patterson hoped that Don Majors 
didn't know that. 

The hits on Elroy Smollett's gas card came in with 
steady regularity. Majors was buying gas so often that he 
seemed to be driving twenty-four hours a day. He was in 
one town, then another, and soon a thousand miles away. 

On June 27, 1975, Majors and his latest woman were 
still on the run, but Patterson got some startling new infor- 
mation. 

280 



' MONOHAN'S LAST DATE 

The Seattle man claimed to be Don Majors 's nephew, 
and he said he'd had a visit from his Uncle Don on the 
second of June. 

"My uncle said he had a .22 that was misfiring. He 
brought it in and we looked at it — it was a rifle with a ten- 
inch silencer. We shot it into a block of wood and it 
worked all right. He also had a derringer." 

The witness said Majors had told him that he'd killed a 
man, but he hadn't really believed Majors at the time. 

"He sometimes tells big stories," the man said. 

"Was anyone with him when he dropped by?" Patterson 
asked. 

"Yeah — a woman named Shireen. He said she was his 
girlfriend. And they had another girl with them, too." 

Patterson returned to Quincy, Washington, to interview 
Don Majors 's ex-wife in her home. She denied writing any 
of the letters to Monohan, or that she'd ever heard of him. 

"That's Don's handwriting," she said. "He has a type- 
writer that he sometimes uses to write this kind of letter, 
too. Or he'll get his girlfiiends to write them. I never wanted 
anything to do with this smut." 

"When did you two divorce?" Bill Patterson asked. 

"He left home seven years ago, but he still stops by to 
visit. He was here on June second with a woman named 
Shireen. I don't know where he is now. His mother lives in 
Oregon, and he has a brother in Los Angeles." 

She promised to call Patterson if she heard from her ex- 
husband. 

Patterson talked again with Gerda Goss, who also re- 
sided in Quincy. She and Don Majors had lived together 
until late December 1974. 

281 



ANN RULE 

"When was the last time you heard from Don?" Patter- 
son asked. 

"He called on the phone and we talked on June second," 
she said. "He said he was in Idaho — but I thought he was 
right here in Quincy. He lies so much that you can't be- 
lieve him. He wanted me to call an attorney in Sacramento 
about getting one of the Aust brothers out of jail. Aust was 
supposed to be a Hell's Angel, and I was to tell the lawyer 
that Don would be down to get him out in a couple of 
days. I know Ted Aust, too. He used to be Don's cellmate 
in prison." 

The Chelan County chief deputy sensed that Gerda 
Goss was clearly afraid of Don Majors. 

She admitted that that was true. "Don has a key to my 
house still," she said fearfully. 

Patterson handed her his business card, and she prom- 
ised to call him if she heard from Majors. 



The women in Quincy had no reason to worry: Donald 
Kennedy Majors was far away from them on still another 
sadistic pursuit. The hits on the Smollett gas credit card 
were popping up like toadstools as the maroon Chevy 
headed east. Majors was buying gas, tires, batteries, car 
parts — anything he could sell. And he was managing to 
keep one jump ahead of his pursuers. 

Majors had another ripe turkey to pluck. He had a volu- 
minous file of letters and notes listing names and phone 
numbers. He had met them all through ads in swingers' 
magazines. One man, in Solon Springs, Wisconsin, sounded 
like a vulnerable target. 

282 



MONOHAN'S LAST DATE 

Don Majors now had two women with him — Shireen 
Gillespie, his latest girlfriend, and a pretty young Indian 
girl he'd picked up in his last swing through Sacramento. 
Her name was Tana Chippewa.* 

Using the women as bait, Majors set out to make money. 
He would use his most successful MO: entrap the sex- 
hungry suckers and then rip them off. 

Bill Patterson looked at the map on his desk, marking it 
in red wherever Elroy Smollett's gas card had been used. 
Majors was heading southeast and then angling off toward 
the Midwest. From late May through all of June and into 
July, the stolen credit card had been used in California, 
Nevada, Arizona, Wyoming, South Dakota, Minnesota, 
Iowa, Wisconsin, and finally, Illinois. Smollett had been 
issued a new card, but his first card was kept in force. It 
was a relatively cheap way to track the man detectives be- 
lieved to be a killer. 



Don Majors and his female traveling companions made a 
five-day stopover in Solon Springs, Wisconsin. They vis- 
ited with a well-to-do man who had written an ad looking 
for some "action." 

The man got more action than he bargained for. 

While Majors and the two woman enjoyed his hospital- 
ity, they never agreed to any sexual activity, finding one 
excuse after another. Their host became suspicious of his 
guests, who were eating and drinking him out of house 
and home, and he confronted them. 

That was a mistake. Don Majors forced him into a 
root cellar beneath his home and bound his wrists and 

283 



ANN RULE 

ankles tightly. Then Majors threaded a cord with a lighted 
lightbulb on one end, trailing it from the root cellar and 
over the top of the basement door. He left the lightbulb 
suspended inches above an open container of gasoline. 
He placed another full container of gas next to the home- 
made bomb. Majors then nailed plywood over the root- 
cellar door. 

"Now," he'd shouted to the man trapped inside. "If you 
manage to get free, and try to push this door open, the hot 
bulb goes into the gas — and that's all she wrote. They 
won't find you, your house, or most of your block." 

With the helpless homeowner tied up. Majors had taken 
his time clearing the man's home of valuables, including 
his practically new car. 

He'd been right about the gasoline "bomb." Experts 
said that if the gas and the hot bulb met, the explosion re- 
sulting would have leveled the house and the adjoining 
homes as efficiently as TNT. 

However, the man trapped in the root cellar managed to 
wriggle free of his bonds. He located a saw and tediously 
cut his way through the ceiling, allowing him to escape 
without disturbing the booby trap. Local investigators 
later disengaged the lightbulb very, very carefully. 

Then they sent out teletypes asking for information on 
Don Majors and the two women traveling with him. 

At 9:15 in the evening of July 8, 1975, the Sacramento 
office of the FBI received a phone call from Tana Chippe- 
wa's mother. 

"My daughter just called me from Illinois," she said 
nervously. "A man named Don Majors has Tana captive in 
a motel in Matteson, Illinois. They're in room number 

284 



MONOHAN'S LAST DATE 

eight and he's registered under the name of Wendell Lee. 
It's the Matteson Motel." 

Asked for a few more details, the worried woman re- 
peated what her daughter Tana had told her. 

"She said that Majors is planning to kill a man at 9:00 
a.m., a man at the motel. All I know about him is that his 
name is Al and he lives in Crete, Illinois. My daughter 
says this man she's afraid of — Don Majors — met Al 
through a swingers' magazine." 

The special agent in Sacramento immediately sent a 
teletype to the FBI office in Chicago: "The informant says 
Majors has a .22 derringer and a sawed-off shotgun. Use 
caution." 

Next, Tana Chippewa called the Chicago FBI office and 
said that she had managed to sneak out of the room where 
Majors and Shireen Gillespie were asleep and was calling 
from the motel office. "Please hurry," she begged. "I don't 
want to help kill a man." 

A squad of FBI agents gathered quietly outside the 
Matteson Motel at 1 : 30 a.m. Tana Chippewa tiptoed out to 
meet them, whispering. 

"They're asleep," she told the agents. "But Don's got 
guns in bed with him." 

The agents decided not to wait for backup and entered 
the room through the door that Tana had left unlocked. 
Majors wakened from a sound sleep to find his bed sur- 
rounded by FBI agents aiming guns at him. 

When they asked where his weapons were, he gave in 
and pointed to a spot at the end of the bed where he'd hid- 
den them. 

It was a lucky thing that the special agents had been 

285 



ANN RULE 

able to sneak up on Don Majors. Had he spotted them, 
there would almost certainly have been bloodshed. They 
found a sawed-off .22 rifle loaded, and an operative hand 
grenade under the covers. The .22 derringer was in Shireen 
Gillespie's purse. 

Shireen was actually Majors 's captive, too. She had 
been more afraid to leave the sadistic con man than Tana 
Chippewa was. Now, seeing Majors in handcuffs, she gave 
the FBI agents permission to search the Chevrolet, which 
was registered in her name. The car was full of more inter- 
esting items: a sawed-off bolt-action rifle, the silencer for 
the rifle, ammunition, rubber gloves, black leather straps 
used in bondage sex, an empty billfold, blank checks, and 
stacks of sex magazines, including The Players, Sandra s 
Erotic Journal, and The Seekers. 

There were thirty-five Polaroid snapshots of potential 
playmates and/or pigeons. Most of those pictured were 
nude or seminude. Some were tied up, some wore masks, 
some were having sex with animals; there were two of a 
very young girl in her underwear. Young and not-so-young 
bodies twisted in contortions demonstrating almost every 
sexual position known to man — or beast — including a few 
that seemed entirely new, even to the FBL 

Donald Kennedy Majors had an operative seven-point 
indictment out on him involving weapons violations, and 
this was on top of the warrants out of Wyoming and Wash- 
ington. A federal grand jury in Des Moines, Iowa, had is- 
sued a bench warrant for Majors on June 25 for violation 
of the Dyer Act, which involves taking a stolen vehicle 
across state lines. 

His FBI rap sheet went all the way back to 1947, and 

286 



MONOHAN'S LAST DATE 

he'd fallen for almost everything from being AWOL to 
forgery, unlawful flight, kidnapping, armed robbery, and 
grand theft. The list was almost an encyclopedia of crime. 

Still, although he'd bragged about killing, Don Majors 
had never been convicted of murder. At least, not yet. 

Majors was booked into jail, and FBI agents talked 
with Tana Chippewa and Shireen Gillespie. Shireen said 
she'd met Majors sometime in January when he'd checked 
into the motel in Nebraska where she was the manager. 
The long, lean "cowboy" from Washington had enjoyed a 
bonanza with Frank Monohan's credit cards. He turned on 
the charm for Shireen, a lonely woman who felt trapped 
and bored in her job in the Midwest motel. 

When he checked out of the motel, Majors promised to 
call and come back. And he did. When he asked her to, 
Shireen willingly quit her job, and provided her car and 
her savings for the next meandering trip west to Califor- 
nia. If she wondered who the credit cards belonged to that 
Majors used when her money ran out, or why Don was 
buying items in one town and selling them in another, she 
didn't ask questions. Her new lover's sexual charisma had 
her enthralled. 

They'd picked up Tana Chippewa in Sacramento. Tana's 
"old man" was in jail and she was at loose ends. She'd 
quickly accepted Majors 's invitation to travel with him and 
Shireen. 

But the con games he practiced were much more than 
Tana had bargained for. The two women were supposed to 
serve as sexual bait to haul in men whose names Majors 
had gleaned ft"om the swingers' magazines. 

It was a pretty good scam. Victims, fleeced of their 

287 



ANN RULE 

valuables, weren't anxious to go to the police. Respected 
citizens who had kinky sex hangups didn't want them on 
the public record. Even the man in Wisconsin who had al- 
most been blown to smithereens by the gasoline-lightbulb 
bomb had refused to file charges. 

Majors was full of braggadocio and claimed to be far 
more accomplished than he really was. One item found on 
him when he was arrested was a card issued to Frank 
Monohan showing he had a private pilot's license. Majors 
had carefiilly blanked out the "small plane" designation 
and Monohan 's name. He had skillfully changed it to read 
that he was "Major Donald Kennedy," licensed to fly 
"multi-engine jets." However, the original printing re- 
mained traced in the celluloid envelope the license was 
carried in. 

Tana and Shireen had gone along with Majors 's rip-off s 
of his would-be swinging targets. They had seen his care- 
fully cataloged notebooks, and they weren't in the dark 
about what his game was. But Tana had balked when it 
came to killing. That was why she'd slipped out of the 
motel room in Matteson to call the FBL 

And Majors 's promises of a wonderful "vacation" 
across America had worn thin. They were eating at fast- 
food joints and sleeping in cheap motels. More than that. 
Majors constantly told the two women that they were 
going to have to step up their operation of enticing the se- 
cretive weirdos into traps where they could be robbed. 

"We were barely making it," Tana Chippewa said. "Even 
when Don had stolen credit cards from his victims. He 
wanted money — lots and lots of it — and he didn't much 
care how he got it. But he just wasn't very good at it." 

288 



MONOHAN'S LAST DATE 



The case that had begun when Frank Monohan disap- 
peared in mid-December 1974 ended its first chapter in 
July 1975. Majors was convicted of the charges hanging 
over him and was safely behind bars; the women were al- 
lowed to go free, and they traveled back to Sacramento, 
where Shireen moved in with Ted Aust, Majors 's old 
prison buddy. Tana decided to wait for her man to get out 
ofjaiL 

In Chelan County, Bill Patterson still didn't have what 
he needed to bring charges of murder against Majors in the 
death of Frank Monohan. Certainly there was no question 
that the men had known each other, and that Majors had 
stolen Monohan 's credit cards. But that wasn't enough to 
convince a jury that Majors had killed Monohan. Patterson 
needed physical evidence or, better yet, an eyewitness. So 
much time had passed between Monohan 's disappearance, 
the finding of his body, and Majors 's arrest in Illinois that 
finding an eyewitness would be like finding an unbroken 
egg left on the field after the Rose Bowl. 

But Patterson is a most determined man, and his per- 
sonal conviction was that Donald Kennedy Majors was 
probably the most dangerous criminal he'd ever come up 
against. He wasn't about to abandon his investigation. 

Majors had bragged to the women and male pals that 
he'd killed "thirty-three and a half people." Were these 
only the ravings of an egomaniac, or could his statements 
be true? 

Majors explained the "half" by recalling how he'd shot 
a man in his Los Angeles apartment with a .22. Majors 

289 



ANN RULE 

said he'd gone there to set up one of his "phony orgies." 
The bullet had allegedly hit the man in the head, but it had 
only knocked him unconscious. 

"I convinced him he'd just had a spell or a fit," Majors 
laughed to friends. "He left and then he had an accident. 
The L.A. cops pegged it as a traffic fatality!" 

Patterson now had many more names and addresses 
culled from the notebooks Majors carried in his travels. 
The stubborn detective was prepared to talk to everyone 
he could locate in the hope that he could find the missing 
link he needed. He knew that there had been a "man in his 
thirties" when Majors went on his buying spree with 
Frank Monohan's credit cards. Maybe, somewhere in his 
list of names, he'd find that man. It was even possible that 
that man had actually witnessed Monohan's murder. 

One of the first people Patterson found was the man 
who counted as the "half" murder. Only he wasn't dead, 
and he hadn't been killed in a traffic accident. And he 
didn't live in Los Angeles. He lived in Spokane, Washing- 
ton, where he held a most respected professional position. 

The man, like almost all the other swingers Patterson 
contacted, didn't want to talk to him. Still, he finally admit- 
ted there had been an odd occurrence one evening when 
Majors came to his apartment. He said he'd bent over to 
adjust the stereo, and the next thing he knew, he was lying 
on the floor with a terrible headache and Majors was on top 
of him, twisting his arm behind his back. 

"I had blood on my head, but Don told me I'd had a 
seizure, hit my head on a sharp corner, and that he was just 
trying to bring me out of it." 

Patterson had little doubt that that man was walking 

290 



MONOHAN'S LAST DATE 

around with a .22 slug in his head. "But he won't have an 
X-ray," Patterson says. "He doesn't want to know what's 
causing his headaches; he doesn't want to be involved in 
any investigation that might blow the cover off his respect- 
ability." 

As far as the other thirty-three murder victims that 
Majors claimed, he might well have been telling the truth. 
More likely, he was starting with the tmth and then shad- 
ing it with his talent for dramatic embellishment. 

Bill Patterson was in touch with law officers from New 
York to Oregon. He found dozens of cases where well- 
dressed businessmen's bodies were found dumped along 
side roads, their credit cards missing. Eight of the 
unsolved cases resembled Donald Majors 's MO very 
closely and were near enough to the itinerary that 
Patterson charted from the credit-card hits that the Chelan 
County detective felt Majors could have been involved. 
Three murders in Tucson, Arizona, seemed to have 
Majors 's stamp on them, and Patterson placed him fifty 
miles away from the death sites around the same time. 
There was another in Cicero, Illinois — and more across 
the country. All were men who had received phone calls, 
gone out to meet someone, and never returned. 

Coincidence? Or validation of Don Majors 's boasting 
that he was a champion killer? The term "serial killer" had 
not yet been coined in the midseventies, but in the more 
than three decades since then, several cross-country truck 
drivers have often proved to kill in a serial manner. 

Bill Patterson's main task, however, was to forge the 
essential link in the Monohan case. Over the next two 
years, he picked up the burgeoning case file and perused it 

291 



ANN RULE 

over and over again to try to find something he might have 
missed. He talked to hundreds of people, people caught up 
in Majors's life in both direct and tangential ways. Frank 
Monohan's murder ate at Bill Patterson, taunting him 
silently. 

In spring 1977, Patterson journeyed to Sacramento to 
talk again with Ted Aust and Shireen Gillespie. He knew 
that Majors had stolen a credit card from one of Aust's 
friends in May 1975 at Aust*s home in Sacramento, and he 
wanted to talk with Shireen again. 

Shireen had long since grown disillusioned with the 
man who*d promised her a new home with all her furniture 
shipped out from Nebraska. Don Majors had said he 
would marry her; instead he fleeced her of her life's sav- 
ings and involved her as a sexual decoy in their headlong 
flights across the country. 

Two years later, she was more than willing to talk in 
detail about something Majors had once told her. Patter- 
son wondered if it was just another of his fantasies or if it 
might actually be real? 

"Don told me this story," Shireen began. "He told me 
that he'd driven across a mountain pass with some boy 
who had his mother's car. He told me about killing some 
guy and dumping him." 

This was new information, and Patterson weighed it, 
hoping that it was Majors's admission to the murder of 
Frank Monohan. 

He was thinking about it as he and Aust tore up the 
floorboards of a bedroom in Aust's house and crawled 
down into the space beneath the floor. Majors's former 



292 



MONOHAN'S LAST DATE 

cellmate had suddenly recalled that, when Majors visited 
him in May of 1975, he'd seen him tear up some papers or 
credit cards before they'd repaired a sinking floor and 
boarded it up. That was the day that Elroy Smollett had 
helped with the remodeling, the day that Smollett's gas 
credit card vanished. 

Patterson remembers that night in Sacramento well: 
"We were down there with the rats and the black widow 
spiders, and there was a storm and the lightning and thun- 
der was rattling the house. We didn't find the torn-up 
credit cards, but I suddenly had a revelation that was 
stronger than any bolt of lightning outside. Shireen had 
been telling me about a 'kid with his mother's car.' 

"And suddenly I knew who the second man was, the 
day Majors used Monohan's credit card to go on the buy- 
ing spree on December 14, 1974. All the time, we thought 
we were looking for another man — but it wasn't another 
man. It was a kid, the one kid I'd talked to who'd idolized 
Majors, the kid who had once thought Majors was a hero. 
It had to be Curt Goss! Majors lived with Gerda Goss and 
Curt — who was sixteen then — right up until the time 
Monohan disappeared!" 

Patterson was on the road and headed back to Quincy, 
Washington, in no time. Shireen had said a boy was a wit- 
ness to murder, and the boy had to be Curt Goss. 

It was May 4, 1977, when Patterson confronted the now 
nineteen-year-old Curt Goss. When Patterson asked the 
youth if he'd gone to Seattle with Don Majors in Decem- 
ber of 1974, he answered yes. 

"We drove my mother's car, a 1972 Caprice." 



293 



ANN RULE 

Curt said Majors had told him the reason for their trip 
was to talk to a man in Seattle about the trucking business. 
Majors had called the man from a pay phone. 

"He told me we were going to have dinner with him. 
And we met him at the Holiday Inn." 

"What did he look like?" Patterson asked. 

"Middle-aged. He had gray hair, and he was well 
dressed. He said his name was Frank, and he paid for a big 
steak dinner for all of us at the Holiday Inn." 

"Which Holiday Inn?" 

"The one on the Duwamish River. There used to be a 
drive-in theater across the highway from it." 

So far, everything Curt Goss was telling him matched 
other information they'd had for three years. Patterson 
began to feel a slight thrill of anticipation. He didn't let 
Curt see that, though. 

The conversation at dinner hadn't been about the truck- 
ing business — not at all. It had been about Majors's 
ex-wife. Majors had described her in glowing terms and 
convinced Monohan that they should leave that night to 
drive to Quincy so that the wealthy engineer could meet 
her. Although they'd already rented two rooms at the prac- 
tically new motel, charged to Frank Monohan 's American 
Express card, the two men and the sixteen-year-old boy 
left for Quincy. At least. Curt, who was driving, thought 
they were going to Quincy. 

"The man — Frank — ^was sitting next to me in front, and 
Don was in the back. Don told me which turns to make, 
because I didn't know the roads. I followed his instruc- 
tions to turn off the freeway into a small town not far from 
the motel. It was late and it was raining hard. We hadn't 

294 



MONOHAN'S LAST DATE 

reached the Seattle city limits when Don told me to turn 
into a big place where a lot of trucks were parked and to 
stop the car. I stopped, and he looked around and told me 
to drive on. 

"We drove all around these little side streets and then 
he told me to stop again in this place that was mostly 
vacant lots. That's when he shot Mr. Monohan." 

For Patterson, it was almost unbelievable. After years 
of trying to get Don Majors pinned to the wall, he finally 
had his eyewitness, someone who had been only inches 
away from Frank Monohan when he was shot. 

"I heard this loud explosion," the teenager continued. 
"And then Frank just fell over next to me. I almost drove 
off the road from the shock. I couldn't believe Don had 
actually killed the man." 

Majors had told Curt Goss to keep driving toward 
Quincy. "He said he would kill me too if I tried to go to the 
police." Curt believed him; he'd just seen ample proof of 
what Don Majors was capable of 

They headed up 1-90 toward Snoqualmie Pass some 
fifty miles away. To people in other cars, Frank Monohan 
appeared only to be asleep, but the terrified teenager could 
smell the blood that was dripping into puddles on the car 
floor. He felt as if he was living in a nightmare. 

"When we got up to North Bend, Don told me we 
were going to stop and put Frank in the trunk. We went 
a little past North Bend and onto the side of the road and 
parked." 

It was pitch dark by then, and fir trees loomed like dark 
monsters as Curt and Don Majors carried the deadweight 
of Monohan 's body and loaded it into the trunk. The car 

295 



ANN RULE 

seat and floor were saturated with blood, but it was dark 
and Majors figured no one would see it. 

"We stopped at a truck stop beyond North Bend for 
coffee, and Don told me to shape up, that what was done 
was done." 

"So you kept going to Blewett Pass and dumped the 
body?" Patterson asked. 

"No," Curt said. "We turned around and went back to 
the Holiday Inn south of Seattle. We had those two rooms 
that Frank paid for, and we were beat. We slept the night 
there." 

"Where was Frank Monohan's body?" 

"It was in the trunk." 

Curt Goss said they had eaten a leisurely breakfast, and 
then dumped Monohan's pickup truck in the back comer 
of a tow yard, where Don Majors didn't think it would be 
found for a long time. 

Patterson was baffled by the thought that Frank Mono- 
han waited in the trunk of Majors 's borrowed car. 

"So what happened next?" he asked, bending his head 
over a yellow legal pad, taking notes so Curt couldn't see 
the expression on his face. 

"Then we went Christmas shopping. We went to a cloth- 
ing store, a shoe store. He got a train set and tracks for his 
son. He got a camera. We went in a lot of stores." 

Around noon, on December 14, they'd headed back 
home to Quincy. At Blewett Pass, Majors told Ciirt they 
were going to dump the body, the body that had lain in the 
trunk while Majors used the victim's credit card for 
Christmas shopping. 

"I was afraid he was going to kill me, too," Curt said. 

296 



MONOHAN'S LAST DATE 

"So I did everything he told me to. We waited until there 
were no cars, and Don took Frank's feet and I took his 
head and we threw him in a snowbank. Then we drove on 
into Wenatchee and Don made me clean the blood out of 
the car in the car wash there. Later, when my mom asked 
why the seat was wet, he told her he spilled a coke on it." 

Curt said they'd gone to his mother's home, where they 
spent the night. He'd been afraid to tell his mother what 
had happened. 

"I didn't tell her about it until six months later, and then 
we were both too frightened of him to tell anyone else." 

"Would you be willing now to testify in a court of law 
about what you just told me?" Patterson asked Curt. 

"Yes. If it means we could put this nut away." 

Frank Monohan had had no warning at all that he was 
about to die. He'd believed he was on the way to meet a 
warm and willing woman who was "dying to meet him." 
He hadn't even been nervous about the side trip they'd 
made into the little town of Auburn to look at "some 
trucks." 

And he had died without a sound when Don Majors 
shot him from the backseat of Gerda Goss's car. 

Curt said that he, his mother, and Majors had gone to 
Yakima the next day to do more "Christmas shopping." 

"I knew my mother was scared because Don never had 
any money and now he had all those clothes and cameras, 
and he was buying more, but she didn't ask him about it." 

Even though they hadn't told anyone about what hap- 
pened, Gerda and Curt Goss had lived a life of quiet dread 
ever since. 

"During the last two and a half years — ever since it 

297 



ANN RULE 

happened," Curt Goss told Patterson, "we've had threats 
from Don Majors on the phone. And strangers have called. 
My mom and I have feared for our lives. I still do, but I 
think it's time that I told about this and I think he should 
be kept in prison." 

Curt Goss said that he'd suspected Majors had dark 
secrets when he was living in their home. 

"He changed the lock on the bedroom door and he used 
it for his 'office.' I could hear him typing in there. He got a 
lot of letters every time he went to the post office box in 
George. He told me he was writing a book — but I'd seen 
some of those magazines with the pictures in them." 

"Have you had any contact with him since he went to 
prison?" Patterson asked. 

"Yeah. He wrote me fi*om jail. They were dirty, filthy, 
obscene letters like the stuff they had in those bondage 
magazines. I don't know why he wrote to me like that. He 
just seemed to like to write about it." 

"Why didn't you call the police once he was in jail?" 

"Because we received a phone call from a man who 
said he'd been in jail with Don and he said he could 
arrange a deal to take care of us. We were always 
frightened. We just burned the letters because they were 
too filthy to keep." 

" Oddly, though the case of Frank Monohan's disappear- 
ance and murder had been worked principally by Chief 
Deputy Bill Patterson in Chelan County and Detective 
Bud Jelberg in Seattle, this new information showed that 
Monohan had actually been killed in King County. Patter- 
son forwarded all the information he had to the King 



298 



MONOHAN'S LAST DATE 

County Sheriff's Office, and Detective Mike Gillis took 
over the case. 

GilHs and Detective Sergeant Harlan Bollinger talked 
to the teenage eyewitness and elicited the same informa- 
tion he'd given to Bill Patterson. He rode with them, point- 
ing out the spot on the outskirts of Auburn where Monohan 
had been shot, and then leading them along the route to 
Blewett Pass where the body was dumped. 

"Just when did you tell your mother that you'd been 
with Majors when he shot Frank Monohan?" Gillis asked. 

"Not until the first time Detective Patterson came to 
talk to her. I told her then, and she started to cry. But we 
were so scared of him, afraid he'd come back and get us." 

With the information that Bill Patterson had uncovered 
on Donald Kennedy Majors and the eyewitness he now had 
to Frank Monohan 's death. King County deputy prosecutor 
Greg Canova brought charges of first-degree murder 
against Majors. 

In the summer of 1978, Majors was allowed to plead 
guilty to second-degree murder. When he did so, there 
were many sighs of relief from nervous swingers all over 
America who now would not have to testify about their 
secret sex lives in open court. 



Don Majors served two consecutive life sentences, where 
he no longer had access to a typewriter. 

Frank Monohan 's fate might serve as a deterrent to 
those would-be swingers who advertise in a whole new way 
in this twenty-first century, searching for "love" partners. 



299 



ANN RULE 

With the Internet, it's easier to do now, and anyone online 
has to cope with dozens of unwelcome messages from por- 
nographers and willing sex partners. 

A shocking example of the danger of the Internet 
occurred shortly after I wrote the first draft of this book. 
A serial-killer suspect, Phillip Markoff, was arrested on 
charges of murder and robbery after finding his targets 
on Craigslist. Known as the "Craigslist Killer," Markoff 
was a promising medical student in New England and 
engaged to be married. Although the charges against him 
have yet to go to trial, Markoff appears to have another — 
secret — life, marked by gambling addiction and crimes of 
violence against women. 

How Don Majors would have loved the Internet with its 
constant opportunities to find easy victims. If he is still 
alive, he would be nearly ninety years old now, and proba- 
bly no longer a threat to anyone. 

Don Majors is far past his career as a vicious con artist 
and killer, but there are others v/ho fill his shoes. Your next 
e-mail might well be a message from another opportunist 
not unlike Majors. 

Although he never turned down an opportunity for sen- 
sual pleasure, Majors 's main goal was always to see how 
much he could milk from the unwary men who answered 
the phony ads he placed. The number of victims he 
robbed, beat, or killed probably won't ever be known. 

Chief Deputy Bill Patterson did find out that he gained 
entry into the homes of lawyers, doctors, teachers, and 
businessmen, all people whose choice of friends — apart 
from the sexual lure he introduced to them — would never 
have included Donald Kennedy Majors. But invite him to 

300 



MONOHAN'S LAST DATE 

their homes they did, and he kept their names, their 
addresses, their pictures, all neatly cataloged against the 
day he wanted more from them than changing partners. 

This is a cautionary tale. Most who read it will have no 
interest in what Donald Majors was offering in his "sure 
thing" racket, but the world is full of all manner of con 
games. Our trust should be given thoughtfully and only 
after we have time to evaluate those we meet. 

How long Donald Majors would have continued in his 
wicked ways is an impossible question to answer. But 
sadistic sociopaths don't change — not as long as they are 
physically able to carry our their plans. Or until they 
are locked up. Or they die. 

Majors didn't realize he was coming up against the best 
detectives in Seattle, King County, Chelan County, and the 
FBI. Nor could he have known that Chelan County's Bill 
Patterson would never quit until he saw Majors convicted 
for the cowardly murder he thought he'd gotten away with. 

Most sociopaths will only break your heart, steal your 
money, or take your job. Sadistic sociopaths will kill you 
without blinking an eye. 



301 



RUN AS FAST AS 
YOU CAN 



I 



DEATH IN PARADISE: THE HAUNTING 
VOYAGE OF THE SPELLBOUND 




Gary Edwards on the sailing ship the Spellbound. Gary joined 

his father, stepmother, half sister, and a friend on a dream trip to 

Papeete. What happened on that cruise is horrifying beyond belief. 




fcs^klL 



Friends and relatives greet the survivors of the Spellbound disaster 

as they fly into Seattle. Lori Huey is second from left; she was the 

only sailor to escape uninjured. Kerry Edwards is third from left. 

The slash over her eye is evident, and later she would be diagnosed 

with a skull fracture. Port of Seattle police officers whisked 

them to a private area so they could escape from media 

cameras, and a curious crowd. 



SHARPER THAN 
A SERPENT'S TOOTH 




When King County sheriff's deputies saw Lorraine Millroy's 

purses partially burned in her fireplace, they feared for 

her safety. {Police photo) 




Lorraine's son's bedroom was cluttered, and detectives found 
bloodied tissues there. {Police photo) 



King County major crimes 

detective Sam Hicks was 

one of the first investigators 

at the empty house where 

Lorraine Millroy had once 

lived, and Hicks stayed with 

the dark mystery until the 

end. Sadly, Sergeant Hicks 

was killed in the line of duty 

a few years later when he 

was shot by a fugitive. 

(Ann Rule Collection) 





( 



Lieutenant Frank Chase 
brought forth some bizarre 
admissions when he 
interviewed Dusty Millroy. 
Even so, it took a long time 
to find out what had become 
of Lorraine Millroy. 
{Ann Rule Collection) 




When hunters stumbled upon what they thought was a deer carcass, 

they were shocked. They called King County Police, and the frigid 

scene in the mountain foothills was soon alive with investigators. 

{Police photo) 




Dusty Millroy had plunged so deeply into drugs that changed his 

reality that nothing made sense to him. He was afraid of intruders, 

and upset because he had finally been barred from his childhood 

home. Ahhough his family loved him, they didn't know 

what else to do. {Police photo) 



MONOHAN'S LAST DATE 




^ 



Frank Monohan 
believed he was headed 
for a date with an 
attractive and willing 
woman when he joined 
acquaintances he 
trusted on a trip over a 
Washington mountain 
pass. He was actually 
headed into oblivion. 
{Police photo) 



Don Majors was active in 
the "swingers" lifestyle. 
He was a consummate 
con man and as cold- 
blooded as they come. 
Women were drawn to 
his six-foot-five frame 
and his ice blue eyes. 
Frank Monohan believed 
in him completely, and 
didn't realize he was only 
a vulnerable patsy for the 
cross-country truck driver. 
{Police photo) 




I 




Seattle police detective 
Bud Jelberg worked 
missing persons cases 
for many years. He'd 
been searching, without 
success, for wealthy 
Frank Monohan, who 
had been missing for 
months. {Ann Rule 
Collection) 






Chelan County chief of 

detectives Bill Patterson 

was trying to identify a 

frozen body on Blewett 

Pass in his county. 

When Patterson and 

Jelberg compared notes, 

they realized that their 

unfinished puzzles 

could be completed. 

(Ann Rule Collection) 




RUN AS FAST AS YOU CAN 



;s^^^ill 



iKWi mm 



m^^m 



Wi 



Seward Park has three 
hundred acres of jogging 
trails, forest, and waterfront. 
So many people flock there 
in the summer that there is a 
sense of safety in numbers, 
even along the trails that 
wind through the isolated 
forest sections. 



Penny DeLeo usually ran the 

two-mile trail in Seward Park 

every morning. On her last 

run, she didn't come back. 





Seward Park offered a 
swimming beach, too, and 
'^3 police officers chased a 
""^^ suspect to the water's edge 
before he surrendered. 




Penny DeLeo's killer's motive for murder wasn't robbery. 

The young housewife and mother still wore an expensive watch 

and a large diamond ring when her body was discovered 

in Seward Park. {Police photo) 



Joyce Gaunt was in trouble 

at her foster home for 

staying out too late. She 

promised to come home, 

but she didn't. Her body 

was found in Seward Park, 

and Seattle police detectives 

thought about her unsolved 

case as they worked the 

crime scene where Penny 

DeLeo died. The two cases 

had several commonalities. 

{Police photo) 




Seattle homicide 

detective Wayne 

Dorman and his partner 

that summer morning, 

Ted Fonis, were the first 

investigators at the body 

site in Seward Park. 

The victim's family had 

already filed a missing 

report, so Dorman and 

Fonis were quite sure 

the dead woman was 

Penny DeLeo. {Ann Rule 

Collection) 





Ted "Teddy Bear" 
Fonis agreed with 
Dorman that someone 
had probably watched 
Penny DeLeo as she 
jogged daily in the park, 
someone who waited 
for a time when she was 
alone on the path. (Ann 
Rule Collection) 




Homicide detective Billy 
Baughman. Baughman, 
along with detective 
John Boatman, took 
statements from a most 
unlikely suspect in the 
murder of Penny DeLeo. 
(Ann Rule Collection) 



Detective Dick Reed 

executed a search 

warrant on the suspect's 

bedroom and took 

photographs that 

showed their quarry had 

everything he might 

want — from clothes to 

"toys." It was disastrous 

for his innocent victims 

that none of these things 

staved off his sexual 

compulsions about 

women. Reed found 

clothes that matched 

witnesses' description of 

the killer in the park. 




THE DEADLY VOYEUR 




Keith Person, fifteen, had tried to 
protect his fi-iend Camilla Hutcheson,' 
but their abductor shot him in the spiij 
Had he survived, he would have been 
paralyzed. His body lies next to Scattc 
Creek. Camilla jumped into the creekl 
to escape the man with the gun and to 
get help for Keith. But it was too late. 
{Police photo) 



King County Sheriff's Office major 

crimes detective Ted Forrester had 

worked most of the complicated murder 

cases in his department. A soft-hearted 

man, Forrester was horrified when he 

heard what had happened to Keith and 

Camilla. He was assigned to their case 

from the beginning — when he responded 

to a call for help at Scatter Creek. Even 

Forrester, who had questioned numerous 

sadistic sociopaths, had trouble finding 

a motive for the attack on the unlucky 

teenagers. {Ann Rule Collection) 





Vietnam veteran Jerry Lee 
Ross terrorized two high 
school students who were ■ 
simply taking a walk in 
the small town where they ■ 
lived. He had a wife and j 
two little girls, and he was ' 
proud that he had once been 
a marine. Why did he kill? 
{Police photo) 



DARK FOREST: DEEP DANGER 



Belinda and Richard 

Cowden at an anniversary 

celebration. Their 

marriage was good, they 

lived in their own home, 

and they had a little boy, a 

new baby girl, and a close 

extended family. They 

went into the woods to 

celebrate Labor Day with 

a campout trip — but they 

never came home. What 

happened to them was 

almost unbelievable. 





Five-year-old David 
Cowden walked a mile 
to the general store with 
his father on Sunday of 
the Labor Day weekend. 
They bought milk and 
with their dog, "Droopy," 
headed back for their 
camp where Belinda and 
five-month-old Melissa 
waited. 




Wes Cowden, sole survivor of the three tightly bonded 
Cowden brothers, holds photographs of his brother 

Richard and his family, as he talks to reporters 

from the Eugene Register-Guard on the sixteenth 

anniversary of their disappearance. The whole family 

was still haunted by the loss, and needed closure. 

(Eugene Register-Guard) 




In this faded photograph, baby-faced Dwain Lee Little 
is only sixteen. His story made headlines because he 

was the youngest convict ever to be sent to the 
Oregon State Penitentiary in Salem. Authorities did 

their best to rehabilitate Dwain, guards and older 
prisoners looked out for him, and his education was 
probably better than he would have received on the 
outside. None of his supporters expected him to 
re-offend after he was paroled, but Warden Hoyt 
Cupp and forensic psychiatrists weren't so sure. 




Dwain Lee Little's mug shot at his re- 
arrest for carrying a deadly weapon in 
1975. At twenty-seven, he was quite 
handsome, and a jealous girlfriend 
reported him to police. 



Dwain Little in about 1977, 

when he was paroled from the 

Oregon State Penitentiary once again. 

He moved to the Beaverton area, 

got married, and seemed to be adhering 

to his parole stipulations carefully. 





Dwain Little after his arrest 
near Portland in 1980 for yet 
another violent crime. He 
was soon headed back to the 
penitentiary. 



Dwain Little at the age of sixty 

in 2008, still locked behind bars in 

the Oregon State Penitentiary. 

He is determined to be paroled 

again, but that isn't likely. He 

has allegedly confessed the worst 

of his crimes to a fellow inmate, 

but he will not talk to detectives. 




Seattle is a paradise for athletes of all kinds — skiers, 
boaters and sailors, and, of course, joggers. The Emerald 
City is located in a spot in Washington State where both 
the Pacific Ocean and the Cascade Mountains are only a 
little more than an hour away, and King County is rife with 
parks, trails, and quiet roads where traffic is light and the 
air is fi^esh and clean. 

And the joggers run — some to rid themselves of 
pounds accumulated over the years, some to improve 
their heart and lung capacity, and some for the sheer joy 
of it. It would seem that there could be no healthier 
choice for young, middle-aged, and even elderly joggers. 
Yes, it would seem so, but that wasn't true in the late 
summer of 1978. 

Running the popular trails in Seattle's verdant Seward 
Park became as dangerous as free-fall skydiving or hang 
gliding. Someone was watching and waiting in the dense 
thickets of fir, maple, and madrona trees of the vast park 
that edges the western shore of Lake Washington, some- 
one consumed with thoughts of violence and killing. 

Most people think of Seattle as being cloudy and rainy, 

305 



ANN RULE 

but that isn't true in July and August. Temperatures rise 
into the nineties then, and a hundred-degree day isn't un- 
heard of. Before the heat of these summer days becomes 
oppressive, many joggers choose to switch their workouts 
to early morning hours. With so many runners showing up 
at Seward Park before most people have breakfast, lone 
female joggers felt perfectly safe. Penny DeLeo, thirty- 
three, had been part of the "morning crew" — as some run- 
ners called themselves — for two months, and she felt no 
fear at all as she ran along paths that often seemed like 
tunnels through the trees. 

If Penny DeLeo was aware of the murder of a young 
girl in the park the previous winter, she had forgotten 
about it. Although the homicide death of seventeen-year- 
old Joyce Gaunt on February 17 had gone unsolved, it 
hadn't even been mentioned in the local media for several 
months. 

Everything had been "normal" in the park for so long 
that the specter of death was the last thing on Penny 
DeLeo 's mind as she scribbled a hurried note to her 
young son at 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday, August 8. 

"I've gone running," she wrote. "Will be back soon. 
You may watch TV until I get home. Love, Mom." 

Then Penny kissed her husband good-bye as he hurried 
out the front door to catch a bus to work. Shortly after that, 
she backed her new metallic brown Toyota Celica out of 
their garage, and drove to Seward Park. 

Penny wore a T-shirt, blue and white shorts, and green 
running shoes — ^her usual exercise attire. There was noth- 
ing unusual about this morning. She expected to be home 



306 



i 



RUN AS FAST AS YOU CAN 

to fix breakfast for her son within an hour, probably before 
he even woke up. 

But this morning was to be different — earthshakingly 
different. Nothing in their lives would ever be the same 
again. 

Penny DeLeo didn't return from the park all day. Her 
son watched television for a while, and then he got dressed 
and went out to play with his friends. He was curious 
about where his mother might be, but he was too young to 
be aware of the dangers of the world. 

Shortly before 5:00 p.m., Penny's husband came home 
from work and found that she was nowhere in their house. 
He asked his eight-year-old son where his mother was, and 
was stunned when the boy said he hadn't seen her all day. 

Her car was gone, the beds were unmade, and the 
kitchen counter was a mess of crumbs and peanut-butter 
smears where the boy had made himself sandwiches. 

DeLeo felt the hairs stand up on the back of his neck as 
a sensation of absolute dread crept over him. Where was 
Penny? A check with her friends netted no information. 
No one had heard from her all day. He called Seattle po- 
lice and reported his wife as a missing person, stressing 
that Penny had never left home before, and that it was un- 
thinkable that she would leave their son unsupervised all 
day. Patrolman Deimis Falk drove to the DeLeos' home 
and talked to her worried husband. 

Falk jotted down a description of the Toyota and its li- 
cense number — IYR-544. He then drove slowly through 
all the parking areas in Seward Park and found no sign of 
the vehicle. 



307 



ANN RULE 

Next, he proceeded to parking areas along the beach. 
The hydroplane races, a big draw for thousands of people 
who attend Seattle's Seafair, had taken place only a few 
days before on Lake Washington. Falk checked all the pos- 
sible places to park from Seward Park to some distance 
north of the Stan Sayre hydroplane pits. 

And he didn't find a metallic brown Celica. He drove 
the loop road near Lake Washington where Penny DeLeo 
always ran, and then perused the area around the bath- 
house where her husband said she normally stopped for a 
drink of water after her run. 

But Penny DeLeo was gone. It didn't seem possible 
that someone could disappear fi-om that park, which was 
alive with people from dawn to long after dusk on such a 
beautiftil summer's day — but, somehow, she had. Her ago- 
nized family spent a sleepless night, waiting for a phone 
call, anything that would let them know she was all right. 

The police couldn't take an official missing report until 
Penny had been gone for at least twenty-four hours. Most 
adults leave of their own accord, for their own reasons, and 
come back when they feel like it. But from the beginning 
Dennis Falk had a "hinky" feeling about Penny — an intui- 
tive cop's slang for something that isn't right, even when 
they can't say why. And the feeling wouldn't go away. 

Shortly before 10:00 the next morning, a bird-watcher 
tracked an osprey in Seward Park with his binoculars. 
Edging deeper into the woods, well beyond the trail he'd 
been on, the man spied what he thought was a pile of 
clothes. Moving closer, he was stunned to see the almost 
nude body of a woman lying prone on a carpet of leaves. 

Forgetting completely about the habits of water birds, 

308 



RUN AS FAST AS YOU CAN 

the man ran to a phone. Seattle Police patrol officers, Tact 
Squad members, and handlers with their K-9 dogs 
responded within minutes to the "found-body" alert. 

The officers confirmed that there was a woman's corpse 
in the park. They cordoned the area off with yellow crime 
scene tape while they waited for detectives from the homi- 
cide unit to arrive. 

And then, incredibly, the activity in the park escalated. 
A man ran up to them, shouting, "Someone just tried to 
rape my wife!" 

The officers quickly determined that the would-be rape 
victim was safe at the moment— if hysterical. They 
obtained a description of the suspect in that attack. Since 
it had just occurred, they figured he was still in the park. 

They wanted to find him as quickly as possible — before 
he managed to vanish into the crowd that had come to beat 
the heat of the day. 

The descriptions they received from witnesses were 
quite similar to one another. They were looking for a black 
male, six feet to six feet two, and slender. According to 
observers, he'd been wearing a soft white hat, red and 
white checked pants, and a long-sleeved white shirt. That 
outfit would certainly make him stand out. 

On police orders, Seward Park was immediately sealed 
off; there was no way for the rape suspect to escape unless 
he went by water, and that outlet, too, was monitored by 
boats from the Seattle Police Harbor Patrol Unit. Air One, 
the department's helicopter, was now hovering overhead. 

Two of the patrol officers drove the jogging loop road 
as they searched for the suspect. They soon came across a 
pretty female jogger accompanied by her large dog. They 

309 



ANN RULE 

warned her of the danger and took her safely to the park 
gates. 

"You know," she began, "I did see a man dressed in red 
and white, with a floppy white hat on — " 

"Where was he?" 

"Near the bathhouse. He started to go down to the 
north end of the park as I headed south." 

It was a weird situation. The Seattle police might be 
looking for one man who was responsible for both a mur- 
der and an attempted rape. On the other hand, they might 
be tracking two different men who had erupted into vio- 
lence during the same twenty-four-hour period. The latter 
hardly seemed likely. 

While the homicide crew headed to Seward Park to 
start their investigation into what appeared to be a murder, 
more and more police cars moved in to seal off all exits 
and to search for the man who had tried to rape the latest 
victim, who identified herself as Tricia Long.* 

Was a killer-rapist stupid enough to return to the park 
the day after Penny DeLeo vanished, and then assault a 
second woman? A lot of killers have been known to hang 
around the rim of a police investigation, reliving the thrill 
of the murder they've committed. If he wasn't stupid, he 
was probably obsessed with bloodshed and wanted a 
front-row seat to watch what came after. 

Still shaking, Tricia Long agreed to go to police head- 
quarters to give a statement to detective Merle Camer in 
the Crimes Against Persons Unit. 

Tricia told Camer that she had gone to the park earlier 
that Wednesday morning with her husband, their baby, and 
her sister-in-law. The two women planned to jog the loop, 

310 



I 



RUN AS FAST AS YOU CAN 

as Tricia was training to run in a women's marathon and 
wanted to scout the course. 

"We made one loop together," she said, "and then my 
sister-in-law got a really bad cramp in her leg and we 
couldn't massage it away. So I told her I could run alone. 
My sister-in-law went back to feed the ducks with my hus- 
band and our baby." 

"What happened next?" Camer asked. 

"As I was running, I could see this tall black man up 
ahead, who was sitting under a tree," Tricia recalled. 
"When I got within about twenty-five feet of him, he stood 
up and moved onto the pathway. He didn't look at me — he 
was facing away fi*om me. He was just standing in the 
middle of the asphalt path." 

"You weren't frightened at that point?" 
' "No, not really. He didn't seem menacing, but he was 
acting kind of strange — fidgety — with his hands at his 
waist. As I passed him, he didn't make any move toward 
me. I kept right on running. But then, about ten yards far- 
ther on, I heard some footsteps running up behind me." 

Tricia 's words came faster, and Merle Camer noted that 
her face was washed of color. 

"Almost simultaneously," she said, "he grabbed me 
fi-om behind with his left arm around my shoulder, trying 
to put his hand over my mouth. He wasn't holding me that 
tightly, but he said, 'I kill you! I kill you! ' " 

She said she'd fought the stranger, trying to get free of 
his grip on her shoulder. She had looked to see if he had a 
weapon or if he was just threatening her. 

"I saw a whitish, plastic handled, short kitchen knife 
about five inches long — like a steak knife." 

311 



ANN RULE 

"What went through your mind at that point?" Camer 
asked. 

"Naturally, I feared that he was going to rape me. But, 
when he said, 'I kill you! I kill you,' I believed he would. 
He was pushing me from behind, trying to get me off the 
roadway toward the woods. We struggled. I started scream- 
ing my husband's name and yelling 'Help!' I was fighting 
him with my arms and legs as hard as I could. 

"It seemed like an eternity, but I think it was only about 
ten seconds. Then he suddenly let go of me and went run- 
ning off into the woods." 

Tricia Long recalled running faster than she had ever 
run before, screaming at the top of her lungs, and her hus- 
band and sister-in-law heard her and came running. They 
had tried to call police via a marine radio on one of the 
boats at the park's dock, but that failed. 

It was at that point that the Long family had come 
across the police officers who were the first responders to 
the "found-body" report. 

Tricia was sure she could identify her assailant if she 
saw him again. 



It was 10:15 a.m. when detectives Ted Fonis and Wayne 
Dorman checked out the fully equipped crime scene van. 
The morning was warm and hazy, and the sun was blurred 
by a smoky overcast caused by forest fires high up in the 
mountains east of Seattle. Fonis and Dorman were two of 
the most experienced homicide detectives in their divi- 
sion, having spent many years there honing their craft. 



312 



RUN AS FAST AS YOU CAN 

They worked together easily, rarely having to speak. They 
could almost read each other's minds. 

After passing through the tight cordon at the entrance 
to Seward Park, the homicide team was directed to a 
wooded area close to the bathhouse. It was near the north 
loop on the lower level of the park, and they were glad to 
see that it was roped off and closely guarded by several 
police officers. 

The two detectives walked up an inclined path into a 
thick cluster of trees where the path became a lonely trail. 
The grass here was matted down, as if a struggle had taken 
place. 

They saw soiled clothing just off the trail: a woman's 
top, white with blue trim; a pair of running shorts of the 
same colors; and beige panties. 

Her body lay twenty-five feet away. She was nude, save 
for a white bra, and a pair of green and blue running shoes 
and socks. 

"She can't weigh more than a hundred pounds," Wayne 
Dorman commented. "She couldn't have put up much of a 
fight." 

The victim lay on her stomach, with her legs spread 
wide. They couldn't yet see her face but saw that she had 
chestnut-colored hair, cut short. 

"I guess we can say that robbery wasn't a motive," Ted 
Fonis said. "She's still wearing a couple of thousand dol- 
lars' worth of jewelry." 

They looked at her left arm where she still wore an 
expensive wristwatch. She had a gold band ring with a 
large diamond on the third finger of her left hand. 



313 



ANN RULE 

Ironically, the watch was still running and gave the cor- 
rect time. 

"Whoever he was," Dorman said, "he was angry. If it 
was a 'he.' Either he knew her and wanted to punish her, 
or he was mad at the world." 

They could see that the petite woman had been stabbed 
again and again, too many times to count — in her back, 
buttocks, thighs, even her neck. Her right wrist was cut so 
deeply that the tendons had been severed, possibly a de- 
fense wound suffered when she tried to fight back. 

Oddly, a pattern was etched in blood on her thighs and 
back. It looked like the crisscross soles of tennis shoes. 
The investigators saw that the same pattern appeared in 
patches of sand close to the body. 

"The canine unit just ran by me," a patrolman called to 
them. "They're tracking someone " 

If the dog had picked up on a scent, the killer had prob- 
ably returned to the scene of his crime, because this 
woman in front of Fonis and Dorman had been dead for at 
least twenty-four hours. Rigor mortis was well established, 
making her joints rigid, and there were other signs that she 
had lain in the woods overnight. 

Looking through recent missing persons' reports 
brought to the park, the detectives were almost certain 
they had found Penny DeLeo. The clothes were right, the 
physical description was right, and she had last been 
known to be heading for Seward Park. 

The King County Medical Examiner, Dr. Donald Reay, 
responded personally to the scene. 

"Doc Reay," as detectives called him, knelt next to the 
body, examining her back first. 

314 



RUN AS FAST AS YOU CAN 

"The bruises near her tailbone and on her upper right 
hip occurred before her death," Reay said. "But all these 
other scrapes on the rest of her back and legs happened 
after she died. Her killer may have dragged her deeper into 
the woods so no one could see her." 

Penny DeLeo's murderer had shown no respect at all to 
her body, a significant psychological reaction. And this 
tended to strengthen the impression that he had been con- 
sumed with a terrible rage. 

Before they attempted to turn the victim's body over, 
Reay, Dorman, and Fonis carefully placed bags over her 
hands, securing them with rubber bands. If she had her 
killer's skin under her fingernails, or hairs from his head, 
or anything else that might help to identify him, they 
didn't want to lose it. 

When Penny DeLeo was moved to a supine position, 
they could see that her white bra was stained crimson over 
her breasts. And now, more wounds were apparent. In a 
murderous frenzy, the man who assaulted Penny had 
stabbed her in her chest, neck, and abdomen. A slender 
gold chain with a precious stone setting was caught in her 
hair. 

"She's been in the same position since she died," Reay 
pointed out, tracing the bright purplish-red striations on 
her chest, stomach, and legs. They had formed when her 
heart stopped pumping, and blood sank to the lowest por- 
tion of her body. 

"This lividity pattern is classic for the prone position 
she was found in," Reay said. "There is no secondary 
lividity that we'd see if she was moved before the initial 
pattern was fixed." 

315 



ANN RULE 

Detective Wayne Dorman began to bag the evidence 
found at the scene: Penny DeLeo's clothing and running 
shoes, her jewelry, and even some of the matted plants and 
weeds that were stained with her blood. The detectives 
also took dozens of photographs of the body and the sur- 
rounding area. 

Penny DeLeo had been a strong, vigorous young 
woman in the peak of health, but no woman as small as 
she was — or even a tall, husky woman — could have with- 
stood what appeared to be a extraordinarily violent attack. 
A number of the knife wounds had probably penetrated 
her arteries and vital organs. 

From the position of her body, the motive for the young 
mother's murder appeared to be rape — or attempted rape. 
Perhaps autopsy findings would tell the investigative crew 
something more. 

Penny DeLeo 's car hadn't been found in Seward Park or 
within miles of it. It was still missing. If car theft was the 
reason she was attacked, there would have been no need to 
kill her. It would have been so easy to simply overpower 
her and take her car keys. 

A description of the missing Toyota Celica was broad- 
cast to all patrol units in the city, along with an admonition 
to avoid touching the vehicle if it was located. "This vehi- 
cle may be prime evidence in an open homicide case." 



When Doc Reay finished his survey at the murder site. 
Penny DeLeo 's body was removed by the medical exam- 
iner's deputies to await a complete postmortem exam. 
As detectives Fonis, Dorman, and Moore prepared to 

316 



RUN AS FAST AS YOU CAN 

clear the scene, they received news that the patrol units 
had a suspect in custody. "He's on his way into your of- 
fices." 

A patrol officer searching the southeast portion of the 
park had seen a flock of crows suddenly take to the air as 
if they'd been startled. As he watched, he saw a tall figure 
ninning toward the water. The officer radioed his position 
to other police personnel in the park. Tact Squad officers 
Brian Petrin and Larry Miller were just above the area 
where the fleeing man had been spotted. They quickly 
drove their car onto a grassy sweep and spotted the man, 
who was still running. 

But the tall runner had managed to get himself into a 
dead end when his pursuers drove up to him, blocking 
him. 

He had nowhere left to go when Petrin and Miller leapt 
from their vehicle with guns drawn. 

"Lie on the ground," Petrin ordered him. 

The suspect complied and moved his hands to his back 
so he could be handcuffed. When they searched him, they 
found no knife — or weapon of any kind. 

He wore no hat, so they didn't know if he was the 
would-be rapist who'd had a floppy white hat, but the rest 
of his clothing matched the description of the man cops all 
over Seward Park were looking for: wine, red, and white 
plaid pants and high-topped tennis shoes. If he'd had a 
white shirt on earlier, he was bare-chested now. His pants 
were wet — as if he had been wading in the lake. 

Advised of his rights, the suspect said he understood. 

Although he was bigger than most grown men, at six 
feet one and 1 70 pounds, he told Petrin and Miller that he 

317 



ANN RULE 

was only fifteen years old. When they looked at him more 
closely, they could see that was probably true; he had a 
youthftil cast to his features, and areas on his jaw where 
whiskers hadn't sprouted yet. 

"What's your full name?" Larry Miller asked. 

"Lee Wayne Waltham."* 

"What were you doing in the park this afternoon?" 

"I just came down to swim about twenty minutes ago," 
he mumbled. 

"How'd you get in the park?" Officer Miller asked. 
"We've had it blocked off for almost three hours." 

"A guy I know dropped me off from his boat, and I 
waded in." 



At Seattle police headquarters, detectives Billy Baughman 
and John Boatman prepared to question the youthful rape 
suspect. His clothes were taken into evidence, and he was 
handed coveralls to put on. 

Now, three teams of detectives were working on the in- 
tricate case — or possibly two cases. There was still no way 
of knowing if the cases were intertwined or mere coinci- 
dence. Half of the seventeen men assigned to the homicide 
unit were deep into one phase or another of the murder or 
the attempted rape. 

Detectives Chuck Schueffele, Merle Garner, and Al 
Lima were talking with the attempted-rape victim, Ted 
Fonis and Wayne Dorman were processing evidence from 
the murder scene, and now John Boatman and Billy 
Baughman were seeing the prime — and only — suspect for 
the first time. 

318 



RUN AS FAST AS YOU CAN 

Investigators, who had spread out around Seward Park, 
located a maple tree adjacent to the route Tricia Long had 
taken. It was an ordinary bigleaf maple and there were 
scores of them in the park. However, this one had a pile of 
cigarette butts littering the ground beneath it. Anyone who 
sat or stood there would have had a perfect view of the 
jogging path in both directions. 

Had the rapist and/or killer waited there? He could 
have had plenty of time to pick and choose the victims that 
appealed to him most, and the women were probably un- 
aware of his presence as they came jogging by his look- 
out spot. The huge tree hid him, and he could also have 
reassured himself that no one else was nearby to identify 
him. 

Lee Waltham said he lived with his parents a block 
from the park. Baughman and Boatman spent a great deal 
of time going over the Miranda rights form with him, and 
they asked that a detective from the Juvenile division be 
present during their interview. 

The suspect admitted early in the questioning that 
Waltham wasn't his real name. "My last name is really 
DuBois,"* he said. 

"Why didn't you give the first officers your real name?" 
John Boatman asked. 

Waltham /DuBois shrugged. "I don't know, really. I 
guess I was scared — Waltham is my real father's name, 
but sometimes I use my stepfather's name. That's DuBois. 
And that's the name I use. That's my half brother's name — 
he's eight." 

They let that go; they could check on whether they had 
his legal name later. 

319 



ANN RULE 

"What did you do this morning?" Boatman asked. "Like 
when did you get up, where did you go, and so forth?" 

"I got up about nine thirty, and walked over to the 
hydroplane pits. They were still cleaning up from the races 
'cause, you know, people leave a lot of trash behind." 

DuBois said he'd watched the cleanup crews for a 
while, and then he'd met a man who'd offered him a ride in 
his boat. 

"Then he took me over by the fish hatchery and let me 
out in the shallow water," the tall youth said. "I waded in 
the water, trying to catch some little fish that were there. I 
kept my shoes on because I was afraid the crawfish would 
bite me. I was just getting out to take my shoes off when 
the two policemen arrested me." 

"Did you assault a woman earlier this morning?" 
Baughman asked. 

"No, I didn't do it." 

"Didn't do what?" Baughman asked immediately. 

"Whatever you're asking me about." 

"What did you do yesterday?" Boatman asked. 

DuBois 's answer came quickly, almost as if he'd memo- 
rized it. "I got up around six thirty and went to the high 
school to play basketball. I got home at nine. I met my 
cousin Reilly Jones,* who's up visiting from L.A., and we 
went walking over to Boeing Hill. We got home about one 
thirty. I worked around home, watched TV with my little 
brother, had dinner, and then did some yard work. When it 
was dark, I watched the Tuesday night movie and the pro- 
gram after that, and went to bed around eleven." 

It was a very precise, complete schedule of the day 
before, almost too precise. 

320 



RUN AS FAST AS YOU CAN 

"Did you kill that girl yesterday?" Boatman cut in, star- 
tling DuBois. 

"I didn't do that." 

DuBois 's statements seemed innocent enough, but he'd 
been wearing pants exactly like the ones Tricia Long had 
described. There weren't a lot of double-knit slacks in a 
plaid pattern that featured wine, red, and white. The socks 
he still wore looked as though they had bloodstains on 
them. That could be tested in the crime lab. His shoes were 
Nike tennis shoes with a distinctive ridged pattern. Crimi- 
nalists would also be able to tell if that pattern matched the 
marks on Penny DeLeo's back and was etched in the sand 
near her body. 

The investigators pointed out time factors involved in 
the two crimes and the evidence they had already uncov- 
ered. 

"There's simply no way that you could have gotten into 
or out of Seward Park after that woman was attacked by 
the rapist," Billy Baughman said. "Either our harbor boats 
or the patrol-car cordon would have stopped you." 

The teenage suspect stared at him, shrugged, and made 
no comment, but little beads of perspiration dotted his 
forehead. 

"Do you want to talk about it now?" 

Lee DuBois said nothing. 

"The victim from this morning has already identified 
your pants — she's here in our office, and she says she can 
identify the man who grabbed her," Lieutenant Bob Holter 
said quietly. "Did you do it?" 

Now, the youth silently nodded his head. 

"Did you kill the woman in the park yesterday?" 

321 



ANN RULE 

Again, he nodded his head. 

"What did you do with the knife?" 

"I dropped it." 

DuBois agreed to give Billy Baughman and John Boat- 
man an account of his crimes. Before taking a statement, 
the detectives tried to contact Lee's family, calling their 
home every ten minutes for more than an hour. 

No one answered. 

Although they are always blamed for what their off- 
spring do, no real guidelines exist to predict which parents 
are going to have problem children. There are so many 
causes for teenagers going astray, and, sometimes, there is 
no cause at all. Lee DuBois was a teenager whose actions — 
whatever they might be — would surely prove agonizing to 
his parents. 

Ironically, Lee's mother was a woman whose many 
years of education had been spent learning to deal with 
children's problems. She held a doctorate in educational 
psychology. Her second husband and Lee's stepfather was 
a Boeing engineer. The family lived in a very nice house 
in a wealthy neighborhood only a few blocks from Seward 
Park. 

On the surface, Lee's home appeared to be stable, 
happy, and secure. 

But that was only on the surface, and like most fami- 
lies, there were secrets no one knew about. 



On August 9, 1978, Lee DuBois gave a taped statement to 
detectives Baughman and Boatman, while Juvenile detec- 
tive Ron Massie stood by. 

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RUN AS FAST AS YOU CAN 

"On August eighth," the youth began, "I walked to the 
tennis courts in Seward Park about six thirty. It was too 
hot to sleep, and I wanted to find a place to put in my toy 
hydroplane. I walked halfway around the road that leads 
around the park. I then sat down in the shade for a while 
between the road and the beach near the restroom. A Sa- 
moan man came up to me. I told him my sinuses were 
bothering me and he told me he had sinus trouble also, and 
he gave me a yellow pill." 

There were many Samoan families in Seattle, and the 
University of Washington football squad was blessed with 
a number of them — who quickly became athletic heroes. 
Still, DuBois's story had a dreamlike quality to it, and the 
detectives wondered if it was true. 

DuBois said he didn't want to take the pill because it 
had no "writing" on it to show what it really was. When 
the "Samoan" told him it was because it was the "im- 
proved kind," that reassured him and he'd swallowed the 
pill. 

After the stranger left, DuBois recalled that he saw a 
girl jogging down the road. "I would say she was about 
twent>'-six, a white girl in shorts which were blue or red. 
She jogged by me and said, 'He got you, huh?' 

"I knew she meant the Samoan as she smiled at him as 
he went up the trail off the road." 

Lee said the woman paused a few moments and then 
began jogging again. He said he was beginning to feel pe- 
culiar from the pill he'd ingested, and he got up and ran 
after the woman. 

"She stopped — as if she had a cramp — and I asked her 
what she meant by what she'd said, but she didn't tell me. 

323 



ANN RULE 

She laughed and started running. I ran after her. I put my 
left arm around her neck and kept asking her what she'd 
meant, but she still wouldn't tell me. Then I took my knife 
out of my pocket and took it out of the case. I pointed the 
blade at her, saying, 'You'd better tell.' She said, 'Okay, but 
put the knife away' " 

DuBois had complied, and he described the knife as a 
"fish" knife, about six inches long, and said it had a 
wooden case — designed so that it would float. 

"I told the woman we were going back to the bath- 
rooms to see if the Samoan dude was still around. The 
woman was walking ahead of me up a trail. 

"She said I'd ordered her up the trail, but I denied that. I 
turned around and headed back down the trail when the 
knife fell out of my pocket. 

"I turned around and saw that she had picked it up. I 
told her to give it back. She told me to come get it, and 
began waving it at me. I grabbed one of her wrists and cut 
myself slightly on two fingers. She fell down during the 
struggle. She had her back to me as she began to get up. 
She was about to run away when my mind kept saying, 
'Kill her — kill her.' I walked up to her and stabbed her five 
times in the back. She fell facedown and was trying to get 
up when I ran away. When I walked out of the trail I saw 
the Samoan dude and he was shaking his head at me, say- 
ing 'Teh . . . tch . . . tch.' I hit him with my fist and then 
started running. He chased me for a short way and then 
stopped." 

DuBois said he had gone home then. 

"What were you wearing at that time?" 

"My blue coat and my maroon and beige pants. Prior to 

324 



RUN AS FAST AS YOU CAN 

running away, I stepped on her neck and her back. I was 
wearing my Nike basketball shoes." 

The suspect said he had returned to the park the next 
day to see if he had killed the woman. 

"I stayed in the road and looked up, but I didn't go up 
where she was. I don't know why I killed the girl. Some- 
thing just kept telling me to do it." 

Lee DuBois also admitted to assaulting Tricia Long, 
but again, he hadn't been in control of his feelings. The 
voice inside him had told him to "kill . . . kill." 

At this point, detectives were finally able to reach the 
suspect's parents. His mother insisted that all questioning 
stop, and she said she was going to contact a lawyer. The 
investigators agreed to her request, and Lee DuBois was 
taken to the Youth Service Center, where he was placed in 
the high-security detention section. 

Were his violent actions on August 8 and 9 surprising? 
Not really. When the Seattle investigators checked Juvenile 
records, they found that Lee had been in trouble before. 
He'd been a runaway when he was only seven, involved in 
vandalism when he was ten, and accused of "indecent lib- 
erties" when he was just twelve. 

He did have a history of sinus problems but had never 
been known to take drugs of any kind or to drink alcohol. 
He was active in football, basketball, and track. 

It was a dreadftil thing to contemplate, but it looked 
like a boy little more than fifteen years old was behind the 
ugly murder and attempted rape in Seward Park. 

Although DuBois had admitted the murder and the at- 
tack to Billy Baughman and John Boatman, he had reso- 
lutely denied that there was any sexual motivation in his 

325 



ANN RULE 

crimes. He could not — and would not — explain how 
Penny DeLeo's clothes had come off, and he grew very 
disturbed when any mention of sex was brought into the 
interview. Nor would he discuss what had happened to 
Penny DeLeo's car. 



The postmortem examination of Penny DeLeo's body 
showed that she was five feet, four and a half inches tall, 
and weighed only ninety-two pounds — no match at all for 
a youth over six feet tall who outweighed her by almost 
seventy-five pounds. 

Assistant Medical Examiner Dr. John Eisele found 
thirty-one stab wounds scattered over the hapless woman's 
body. As Dr. Don Reay and the first detectives on the scene 
had suspected, many of her knife injuries would have been 
almost instantly fatal. Her jugular vein had been severed 
and her heart, lungs, and abdominal organs pierced. Her 
right wrist had been cut so deeply that the tendons were 
severed, as well as the ulnar and radial arteries. 

If ever there was an example of overkill, this was it. 
Penny had also been hit hard in the right eye by some kind 
of blunt object — ^possibly a fist. The only saving grace for 
those who loved her was that she had probably not had 
time to be afraid, and died with the first few knife thrusts. 
If rape had been attempted, it had not been consummated. 

That was very small comfort. 

As the news media reports of the murder and attack in 
Seward Park escalated, homicide detectives received 
phone calls from several joggers who had seen a man in 
the park who seemed to be acting peculiarly. 

326 



RUN AS FAST AS YOU CAN 

One man said he'd been jogging in the park on August 
8 at 7:15 a.m. and he'd observed a tall, slim black male 
watching two female joggers. The man was obviously try- 
ing to keep his face covered. He'd worn a white hat, light 
jacket, and solid-color pants. Several women had also seen 
the tall young man wearing the floppy white hat. 

At 8:00 p.m. on August 9, the Port of Seattle Police re- 
covered Penny DeLeo's Toyota Celica near the First Ave- 
nue South bridge, miles west of Seward Park. The car was 
taken to the Seattle Police Department's processing room 
for latent-print examination. 

Criminalists found Lee DuBois's fingerprints inside 
Penny DeLeo's car. They also determined that the ridges 
on the bottom of the suspect's shoes matched the prints 
etched in blood on her body. 

The net was cinching tighter. 

On August 10, detectives interviewed still another 
young woman who had been attacked in Seward Park — a 
day before Penny DeLeo's murder. This woman, Janet 
Carroll,* a nurse employed in a Seattle hospital, told 
them that she had been jogging in the park on August 7 
at 7:00 p.m. 

"I was rurming on the east loop road," she said, "when I 
saw a tall, dark young man. I jogged by him and then I 
heard footsteps behind me. He grabbed me and held 
something sharp against my stomach. Then he threw me 
over the bank onto the rocks on the lakeshore. I started to 
crawl back up and saw a male jogger approaching. When I 
screamed for help, the boy who'd grabbed me ran." 

Ms. Carroll said the teenager who'd attacked her wore 
I blue jeans and a light blue top with writing on it. 

327 



ANN RULE 

The MO of the suspect seemed set, although, of course, 
there was no way of knowing for sure if he had used the 
same techniques with Penny DeLeo. She could no longer 
tell police how the man had captured her. From what Lee 
said of his deadly encounter with her, it sounded very 
similar to the other victims. 

The tall youth's pattern was to stand in the running 
path, facing away from the joggers, let the women pass 
him, and then run after them, grabbing them from behind 
and threatening them with a knife. Now, there was an 
attack on August 7, a murder on August 8, and a third 
assault on August 9. There were probably other rape 
attempts or even completed rapes, but the victims had 
been too embarrassed to report them. 

On August 16, the King County Juvenile Court declined 
jurisdiction over Lee DuBois; he would be tried as an adult 
for murder in the first degree and two counts of assault. 

Detective Dick Reed joined the probe, and he obtained 
a search warrant for inspection of the suspect's room. 
Reed made a list of items that might be in that room, but 
they could also be somewhere in Seward Park: a long- 
sleeved sweatshirt believed to have been worn by DuBois 
during the murder, the car keys to Penny's Toyota, the 
white-handled fishing knife, a floppy white hat, blue jeans, 
jean jacket, and a baby blue T-shirt with writing on it. 

Lee's room in the handsome residence near the park 
was furnished impeccably: the floor was carpeted, it had 
its own private bathroom, TV and stereo, and floor-to- 
ceiling sliding doors opening onto a lushly landscaped 
yard. Lee could clearly come and go through the sliders 
without his parents knowing. 

328 



RUN AS FAST AS YOU CAN 

The room was very neat, and Lee DuBois's clothes 
hung on hangers in the closet — all pointing the same way. 
He had a wardrobe any teenager would envy. 

Accompanied by the suspect's mother and his lawyer, 
Dick Reed and Ted Fonis searched for the missing clothes. 
They found several pairs of blue jeans, jean jackets, and a 
light blue shirt with "Adidas" printed on it. All the cloth- 
ing had been washed, and at this point it would be hard to 
isolate blood spots if they had been there. Still, some of 
the jeans bore dark stains, worth analyzing to check for 
any vestige of blood. 

Dick Reed checked off just a few items listed in the 
search warrant, but there weren't many left. Next, they did 
a grid search of Seward Park, beginning at the spot where 
Penny DeLeo's body was found. They failed to turn up any 
of the items sought. The knife, car keys, and floppy hat 
were gone, perhaps hidden in the waters of Lake Washing- 
ton or somewhere in the thick vegetation. 

Reed received a call from still another female jogger 
who had seen a tall black male in the park early on the 
morning of August 8 — just about the time Penny DeLeo 
would have been jogging. 

"He was sitting under a big maple tree," she said, "and 
watching joggers on the trail. I was alone, but there were 
several people running near me. I guess I was lucky." 

"Yes, you probably were," Reed said, wondering if she 
really could fathom just how lucky she was. 

Clearly, Penny DeLeo had been chosen for attack, pos- 
sibly because she had the misfortune to be jogging alone 
and rounded the trail loop at a time when no one else was 
around. 

329 



ANN RULE 

And possibly for her shiny new car. 

Lee DuBois's only alibi for where he was at the time 
was Reilly JoneSj his cousin from Los Angeles. Jones had 
already returned to L.A., but the Seattle homicide detec- 
tives asked that a Los Angeles Police Department detec- 
tive interview him. 

Reilly Jones's statement to the California detective filled 
in many of the blank spots during the three-day period 
when DuBois allegedly brought down a reign of terror on 
females in the park. 

Reilly said he'd been in Seattle since the middle of July, 
and had spent a lot of time with his cousin Lee. They'd 
gone to Seward Park on the afternoon of August 7. 

"Lee told me that he would have a car the next day 
from one of 'his girls,' " Reilly recalled. "I wasn't sure 
what he meant by that, but he took off about seven p.m. 
and headed toward the jogging trail I didn't feel like 
going with him, so I went home. He cam.e home at eight 
and told me again he was going to have a car tomorrow." 

(Janet Carroll, the nurse, was seized on the jogging trail 
at 7:00 p.m. on August 7, and got away from her attacker.) 

Jones said that he had seen his cousin tuck a short- 
bladed fishing knife in the elastic anklet band of his right 
sock on either August 6 or 7. "He told me he carried it for 
protection." 

Reilly Jones said he thought Lee was just blowing 
smoke about getting a car — he wasn't even old enough to 
have a driver's license. But on August 8, Jones said that 
Lee wakened him by tapping on his window at 1 1 :00 a.m. 

"He was tapping with car keys. There was only one key 
on the ring." 



RUN AS FAST AS YOU CAN 

DuBois had bragged, "I told you I was going to get a 
car!" 

Lee changed his clothes, and Reilly saw him throw a 
pair of green corduroy pants into the closet. Then Lee in- 
sisted on taking Reilly for a ride in the new shiny-brown 
Toyota Celica. 

"It was hidden down the street so Lee's mom — 'Dr. 
Sue' — wouldn't know about it," Reilly said. "And he told 
his little brother who's eight to keep quiet about it." 

Reilly had his doubts about where the car had come 
from. As far as he knew, Lee didn't have any girlfriends, 
much less one who would let him drive her brand-new car. 
But he went along. They drove to a drugstore to buy candy, 
and then cruised aimlessly around the southwest section of 
Seattle for about an hour. 

"We were headed back toward Lee's house when the 
car ran out of gas. He told me we were going to have to 
walk home. I saw him throw the car key into some brush. 
When I asked him why and told him 'That dude's gonna 
get you for throwing his key away,' he wasn't worried 
at all. 

"He just said, 'No. Sh—he won't.' " 

They were miles from Lee's house, and it took them 
several hours to walk home. They spent the rest of the day 
watching TV, and Lee DuBois never mentioned just how 
he'd gotten the car. 

"What was his mood?" the LAPD detective asked. 
"Did he act different than he usually does?" 

"Naw. He was just his usual self." 

"Did he have any scratches on him?" 

"I didn't see any." 

331 



ANN RULE 

The next day — August 9 — Reilly Jones hadn't seen his 
cousin at all. 

"He was gone at eleven that morning when I woke up. I 
haven't seen Lee since we went to bed on the eighth. We 
were tired from walking miles after the car ran out of gas." 

Was it possible that DuBois had seen Penny DeLeo in 
the park before, knew she ran every morning before 8:00, 
and had coveted her new car? Even if that was the only 
motive, it didn't explain why he had attacked women the 
day before and the day after her murder. 

Although the category wasn't yet known in 1978, in 
retrospect it's clear that Lee DuBois had all the traits of a 
"spree killer." "Serial killers" weren't categorized at the 
time, either. Until the early eighties, every killer with mul- 
tiple victims was considered a "mass murderer." 

Spree killers erupt suddenly, striking day after day after 
day — ^until they are caught. Often they take suicidal 
chances. Lee DuBois was captured three days after he 
began raping and killing, and it was extremely fortunate 
that he was. He might have run up a toll even more devas- 
tating than he already had. 



Lee DuBois went to trial twice. His first trial, in February 
1979, answered some of the questions about why and how 
a fifteen-year-old boy could have grown up to be a spree 
killer. 

As his jury listened, transfixed by the perversity and 
cruelty of Lee's crimes, the testimony detailed his horren- 
dous early years. He hadn't had the safe and secure child- 
hood that most people assumed he had. His mother's first 

332 



RUN AS FAST AS YOU CAN 

marriage — to his natural father — had been marred and 
then destroyed by the "outrageous outbursts" of Lee's fa- 
ther. 

The crux of DuBois's defense plan was that he was 
mentally ill and unable to differentiate between right and 
wrong at the time of his crimes. Under Washington State 
law, this means "unable to perceive the nature and quality 
of the act." 

The prosecution did not deny that the defendant was 
clinically mentally ill, but the State contended that he was 
legally aware of what he was doing as he stabbed Penny 
DeLeo thirty-one times and assaulted the other two jog- 
gers. 

Now, his mother dabbed at tears as she painfully re- 
called her first marriage. She testified that her former hus- 
band's outbursts usually began as he sat in silence at the 
foot of his bed. Predictably he would get up and begin to 
beat his head against the wall. 

When this happened, Lee, who was only a toddler, 
screamed in terror. At one point, when he was eighteen 
months old, his father had pulled a gun on his mother. 

"I grabbed the barrel of the gun and was shot through 
the hand," she recalled. "Then I shot my husband. I don't 
remember how many times." 

Their one-and-a-half-year-old child was showered with 
his parents' blood, still warm as it saturated his clothing. 
Although his mother had carried him from the bedroom, 
he continued to scream so fi-antically that she could not 
calm him down. It was a major emotional trauma for the 
child. 

The couple had been treated in the trauma unit of 



ANN RULE 

Harborview Medical Center, and they both survived. No 
charges were brought, but their union was shaky from 
then on. They eventually divorced after a five-year mar- 
riage. 

"When my husband got that way," Dr. Sue DuBois tes- 
tified, "I'd reach for a pitcher of ice water I kept in the 
refrigerator. Throwing it on him was the only way to get 
him to come to his senses." 

She made no attempt to diagnose what was wrong with 
him, but it's likely that he was bipolar, with a tendency to 
be depressed more of the time than ebullient. His violent 
rages could not be controlled without his getting a face 
fiill of water and ice cubes. 

It is quite possible that Lee had some genetic input 
fi*om his father's mental health issues, but it was difficult 
to say whether nature or nurture had turned him into what 
he had become. 

Dr. DuBois told the court that she herself usually 
jogged in Seward Park each morning. 

"What do you think would have happened if you had 
gone to Seward Park the morning of the eighth of August?" 
defense attorney Aaron asked. 

"It's very scary to me," Lee's mother replied. "Based on 
his unusual behavior — he stares at me blankly and sits on 
his bed the way his father did sometimes — and because 
I'm a jogger, it could mean, I guess, it could have been 
me." 

For the lay members of the jury, the possible psycho- 
logical aberrations were getting very heavy indeed. An 
Oedipal attachment, perhaps? A teenager who felt both 
dependent on and resentftil of his mother? 

334 



RUN AS FAST AS YOU CAN 

The psychiatrists called to testify all had opinions 
about what was wrong with Lee DuBois. Those testifying 
for the Defense said that he was a paranoid schizophrenic 
who heard voices and believed himself to be possessed by 
evil spirits. Those speaking for the prosecution deemed 
him sane under the M'Naughton Rule and fully responsible 
for the consequences of his actions. 

After twelve hours of deliberation, the jury signaled 
that they were hopelessly deadlocked on the question of 
legal sanity as it might apply to the defendant. A mistrial 
was declared. Ten jurors had voted for conviction, with 
two holding out for acquittal by reason of insanity. 

They were dismissed, and plans for a new trial began. 

In late April 1979 DuBois went on trial again for the 
same charges. The second trial, like the first, was lengthy 
and involved. It lasted for two and a half weeks. But the 
outcome was different this time. On the third of May, the 
jury deliberated only five hours before returning a guilty 
verdict. 

Lee Wayne DuBois faced a life sentence. 



Justice for Penny DeLeo, Tricia Long, and Janet Carroll 
was dealt with under our criminal justice system. But 
never for Joyce Gaunt. 

Joyce Francine Gaunt never had much of a chance in 
life. She was mentally challenged from birth owing to 
fetal alcohol syndrome. Her mother had ingested far too 
much alcohol during her pregnancy, damaging Joyce be- 
fore she was bom. 

Joyce's murder has never had closure. Detectives 

335 



ANN RULE 

worked hard on her homicide, but there were still a num- 
ber of questions that demanded answers — especially in 
light of the August crimes in Seward Park. And, indeed, of 
other homicides that came years later. 

Joyce spent her short life being shuttled from one foster 
home to another. Her last was in a group home on Capitol 
Hill in Seattle's central district. She attended Pacific 
School, an institution for special needs children. It was 
hoped that she might one day be able to live on her own, 
and even hold a job. She was able to take buses by herself, 
to perform simple chores, but her lack of reasoning power 
hindered her. She was often stubborn, confused, and un- 
happy over her mental limitations. On occasion, she ran 
away from the group home, resentfiil of the discipline and 
restrictions there. 

On February 16, 1978, she was seen waiting for her 
regular bus at 4:30 p.m. as dusk settled over Seattle. She 
should have been home by five or a little after. Her house- 
parents became anxious as the hours passed and she didn't 
arrive at the group home. A few minutes past midnight, 
their phone trilled and they leapt to answer it. It was Joyce, 
and she talked to the housefather. She would not say 
where she was, but she didn't sound as if she were in 
trouble. If she was in danger, she didn't realize it. 

Her houseparents urged her to come home, and she 
quickly hung up. Or perhaps someone with her hung up 
the phone. 

Nine hours later, Joyce Gaunt 's pathetic body was dis- 
covered in Seward Park — close to the bathhouse and only 
a short distance from where Penny DeLeo would be found 
six months later. 

336 



' RUN AS FAST AS YOU CAN 

Joyce, too, was nude, and lying on her face. Someone 
had crushed her skull with a heavy object, and she had 
been strangled. 

From that day to this, no one knows where Joyce Gaunt 
spent the night of February 16 or how she reached Seward 
Park, many miles south of the group home where she 
lived. She would have been as trusting and naive as a 
child of eight or ten, yet she looked like a fully developed 
woman. 

Seattle detectives have wondered if there is any connec- 
tion between the death of Joyce Gaunt and Lee DuBois's 
spate of violence six months later. The crime scene is the 
same, the MO is very similar, but DuBois declined to dis- 
cuss this earlier killing. And so the case of Joyce Gaunt 
remains open. It's even possible that she was an early vic- 
tim of the Green River Killer — Gary Ridgway — who also 
left victims in Seward Park as he prowled King County in 
the eighties, leaving at least fifty young women dead. 

Each of these teenagers — Lee and Joyce — met a tragic 
end. DuBois, whose background was fUll of promise, who 
came from brilliant parents, and who lived in an appar- 
ently happy home where finances were never a problem, 
served years in prison. 

Joyce Gaunt, whose life was blighted even before birth, 
had no life ahead of her at aM. Perhaps each of them was 
so scarred by early influences that there could be no other 
fate for them than what they drew. 

Penny DeLeo's fate is harder to contemplate. The little 
boy she left a note for is close to forty now. Nothing can 
ever make up for the loss of his mother during his forma- 
tive years. 

337 



ANN RULE 

Several of the detectives who worked on DuBois's 
case(s) have passed away, and all the rest have retired. 

Dr. Susan DuBois remained married to Lee's stepfather 
until the elder DuBois passed away in 2007. 

As far as I can determine, Lee DuBois has been out of 
prison for years. He is listed in local phonebooks. There is 
no public record of his re-offending. 



338 



THE DEADLY 
VOYEUR 



Except for the fact that it is often torn by violent 
winds and thunderstorms, Enumclaw, Washington, has al- 
ways been considered one of the safest towns in the state. 
Set in the far southeast reaches of King County, it's a 
small town in the very nicest, homiest sense. It snows 
more there, and summer gardens freeze over sooner there 
than in the rest of the county, because its elevation is 
higher. Only 6,000 people lived in Enumclaw in the mid- 
seventies; some commuted thirty-five miles to Seattle or 
to Tacoma. More were farmers or worked in the busi- 
nesses that serviced the town itself. Enumclaw wasn't 
known for anything but the county fair and a bakery with 
the best homemade bread in the state. 

In short, it has always been the kind of town where a 
city dweller will go for a Sunday drive and inevitably 
begin to think about selling his split-level house in Seat- 
tle's spreading megalopolis, to opt instead for the quieter 
life of Enumclaw. 

Only a generation or two ago, it was the sort of town 
where you could send your kids down the road to the store 
and never have to worry about it. 

341 



ANN RULE 

That was back in the day. 

But then in the eighties and nineties, the elusive Green 
River serial killer left the bodies of some of his hapless 
teenage victims near Enumclaw. It was a tempting place to 
hide his forbidden carnage because the town sits sur- 
rounded by designated wilderness areas, dams, and rivers, 
all in the massive shadow of Mount Rainier. 

But long before Gary Leon Ridgway began killing his 
estimated four to five dozen victims, there was another 
killer who tracked the innocent near Enumclaw. He was so 
angry and frustrated that he didn't care who he attacked, 
who died, or who would live with jagged scars on their 
memories forever. 



The Enumclaw killer woke about 9:30 on the morning of 
Friday, March 22, 1974. He'd decided that he wasn't going 
to work that day at the lumber mill. His wife and their two 
little girls were already up and eating breakfast in the 
kitchen, but he didn't feel like talking to them. His plans 
were none of his wife's business. 

He took a bath and then dressed in a print shirt and a 
pair of jeans. 

He felt edgy, so he gulped down three tranquilizers and 
waved his wife away when she asked him how many eggs 
he wanted. Gradually, he felt the pills begin to do their 
magic, although they didn't work as well as they once had. 

Less than half an hour after he'd awakened, he was 
headed away from his wife and babies in his 1974 Pinto 
station wagon. Maybe he knew what he was looking for all 
along. Maybe he didn't consciously think about it. 

342 






THE DEADLY VOYEUR 



He hated the Pinto already. He'd been proud of having a 
new car, but then he'd read that Ford Pintos were flawed 
and sometimes broke into towering flames if they were 
even so much as tapped from behind. He feh like he'd 
been taken, and now he was saddled with three years of 
payments for a piece of junk. 

He drove the new station wagon carelessly down State 
Road 169 to the neighboring small town of Black Dia- 
mond. He was looking for a tavern, but it was early, too 
early for most of them to be open. Finally, around eleven, 
he found a beer joint open for business in Black Diamond. 

He drank a lot of beer. Later he'd say "a dozen — maybe 
a half dozen." He played a couple of games of pool. He 
left at half-past noon or shortly after and went looking for 
more beer. He found a supermarket and bought three 
twelve-ounce bottles, figuring he was saving money rather 
than buying it at the tavern. 

It wasn't working anyway. 

Neither the beer nor the pills made him feel any better. 
As he drove, he began to think about all the things that 
were wrong in his life. Nobody ever cut him a break. He 
had bills — lots of bills — and that bugged him. 

He regretted now that he'd yanked his two tiny daugh- 
ters' arms. And he'd spanked them too hard. In spite of 
that, they still loved him and were happy to see him come 
home. That ate at his conscience. 

He sipped the beers and drove and thought about all the 
bad things he'd done; he counted all the people who'd been 
on his back — at least it seemed like somebody was always 
riding him for something. 

The green Pinto prowled the streets of Enumclaw as 

343 



ANN RULE 

the afternoon passed. He wasn't going anywhere. He 
could have taken any road out of town and it wouldn't 
have mattered. His black thoughts kept" him fi-om seeing 
and appreciating the signs of spring in yards and green 
stretches along the highway: daffodils, bright orange-red 
quince sprouting on stalks that had seemed dead a few 
weeks earlier, pussy willows. Even the skunk cabbage 
that bloomed velvety yellow in the bogs beside the road 
were pretty from a distance. Up close its cloying smell 
was overpowering, and anyone who picked it found that 
out in a hurry. 

For this man, even spring was a miserable season. He 
might have decided to go home, but he kept driving. With- 
out willing it, he wound up on the Enumclaw-Buckley 
highway. State Road 410 would eventually take him to 
Crystal Mountain, where there was a popular ski area, and 
mounds of snow still covered the ground. 



The teenage girl and the boy walking along Highway 410 
in Enumclaw were enjoying the first faint aura of spring in 
the air. And that's about all it was, too. It was still cold, 
freezing at night. Although the day before had officially 
brought the season into being, the trees in the wilderness 
woods were as leafless and dry as they'd been in Novem- 
ber. But it wasn't raining, and it wasn't freezing in the 
daytime. 

And it was Friday afternoon, the best time in the week 
for high school students. The store they were headed for 
was a half, mile or so down the road, and they neither 
wanted nor sought a ride. 

344 



THE DEADLY VOYEUR 

Camilla Hutcheson* was sixteen, auburn-haired and 
pretty. Keith Person was only fifteen, but he was already 
five feet, ten inches tall, while carrying 140 pounds on his 
lanky fi-ame. He was still as slim as an arrow, but there 
was promise there of the man to come. 

The high school sophomores enjoyed each other's com- 
pany, although they weren't a particularly romantic duo. 
They'd known each other since grade school, and they still 
liked each other. Sometimes, one or the other of them 
would entertain thoughts of moving their relationship 
ahead, but they each figured if that was meant to happen, it 
would — all in good time. 

Keith was born in Seattle, but he'd lived his whole life 
in Enumclaw. He was popular with his fellow students and 
president of the school's ski club. His dad ran a local real 
estate firm. Camilla's father worked as an aircraft me- 
chanic for the Boeing Company. They were typical Enum- 
claw teenagers, they'd gone to school there since they 
were kindergartners and attended church there, and their 
idea of high excitement was attending a pep rally before a 
football or basketball game, or going to the county fair in 
Enumclaw, or the Western Washington Fair in Puyallup. 

Instead, these two attractive teens were about to walk, 
all unawares, straight into hell. There was no one around 
to warn them, and they weren't prepared to defend them- 
selves. 



The man in the green Pinto cruised along 410, spotted 
them, and executed a U-turn in the middle of the road so 
he could head back toward them. 

345 



ANN RULE 

He had been driving without purpose, but now he had a 
plan. 

It was 2: 14 on that Friday afternoon when the communi- 
cations center of the King County Sheriff's Office received 
a report from Harry A. De Lashmutt, a forest ranger as- 
signed to the Mount Rainier National Park Service. The 
initial report mentioned only that there had been a shooting, 
something not at all uncommon in the wooded foothills. It 
could have been a poacher, someone target shooting who'd 
missed, or even the result of a fight. 

The location given was noted as being three-fourths of 
a mile east of the Mud Mountain Dam Road on Highway 
410. 

Homicide and robbery detective Sergeant Len Randall 
was notified by radio, and he directed detectives Ted 
Forrester and Bruce Morrison to proceed to the scene. De- 
tective Rolf Grunden headed for the hospital in Enumclaw 
to interview a victim who was reportedly under treatment 
there. After he'd alerted Special Operations that the team 
from the sheriff's office would probably need auxiliary 
lighting at the scene — whatever it turned out to be — 
Randall himself drove to Enumclaw. 

Homicide detectives live their working lives on the 
edge of a powder keg. Days, even weeks, may go by when 
nothing happens, and there are also times when murders 
are almost predictable. 

No murder can be called routine — but a drunken hus- 
band shooting a drunken wife, or vice versa, is what might 
be considered a predictable killing. A mentally ill person 
with paranoid delusions, untreated, often becomes a pre- 
dictable killer. Holiday gatherings, old resentments, and 

346 



THE DEADLY VOYEUR 

too much liquor usually collaborate to keep detectives 
away from their own family celebrations. 

Although those who care about both the killers and the 
potential victims have worried about what might happen 
and even asked police to step in, the truth is that law en- 
forcement's hands are tied. Police cannot arrest someone 
for something they might do without invading the rights of 
a suspect-to-be; they can only pick up the pieces after it's 
too late. 

Yet there are occasionally crimes so atypical, so sense- 
less, and so heartbreaking, that even the most outwardly 
tough detective has trouble controlling his emotions. Per- 
haps that's why a homicide unit is any police department's 
"Ulcerville." 

There would be witnesses waiting at the hospital to talk 
to Randall and Grunden, witnesses who, for once, had not 
been afraid to become involved. 

One was the Reverend Thomas J. Tweedie of Gig Har- 
bor's United Presbyterian Church. He and a friend, Robert 
McCleod, had been driving along Scatter Creek Road to- 
ward the Crystal Mountain ski area at about 1 : 30 on March 
22. As they headed up toward the mountains, the air grew 
chill. 

Suddenly, as if she were indeed an apparition, the two 
men were startled to see a young girl run out onto the road 
from some bushes to their left. She was completely naked, 
and a thick scarlet rivulet of blood ran down one of her legs. 

The girl was crying hysterically and waving her arms. 

As they drew beside her, Reverend Tweedie and Bob 
McCleod stopped their car. The terrified girl immediately 
leapt into the backseat. 

347 



ANN RULE 

Fighting to be understood through her shuddering sobs, 
she tried to explain what had happened. ' 

"A crazy man was chasing me, and he has a gun. He 
made me take all my clothes off," she blurted, keeping her 
head below their car's windows. "He's still around here. 
We have to be careful!" 

"Don't worr>' about that," Reverend Tweedie said, while 
he handed the girl his jacket to cover herself. 

"No, no," she said urgently. "You don't understand. We 
have to get help for my friend. Please!" 

Even in her deep shock and terror, it was not her own 
safety the auburn-haired girl was thinking of. They won- 
dered if there was another girl back in the deep woods. 

She was impatient with them, but they put that down to 
whatever emotional trauma she had suffered. 

"It's not a girlfriend," she cried. "It's my boyfriend, 
Keith — ^he's still in there. He's still in the woods with a 
madman. He's beating Keith with a shovel!" 

As Reverend Tweedie pulled across the bridge, pre- 
pared to try to rescue the girl's boyfriend, he heard the 
cracking sound of a pistol shot. 

Then there was only silence. 

The sobbing girl was covered with a shirt and jacket 
now, but she trembled violently. Her benefactors didn't 
know what to do. Should they go into the dark copse of 
trees to save the boy? Or was it too late? They didn't know 
how badly the girl was injured. She obviously needed to 
get to a hospital at once, yet there still might be a chance 
to save her friend, as she kept begging them to do. 

But they weren't armed — ministers seldom are — and 
they knew the maniac in the woods ahead was. It would be 

348 



THE DEADLY VOYEUR 

foolhardy to walk into a hail of gunfire; they were all 
likely to be killed. 

They decided to flag down the first car that came by. 
Fortunately, it was Ranger De Lashmutt driving the next 
vehicle. He stopped as he saw the two men in a red Volks- 
wagen frantically signaling him. 

"We're not sure what happened," Reverend Tweedie 
said. "We came across an injured girl — she's in our car 
over there. She says her boyfriend is out there in the 
woods, and that a 'madman' is beating him. I guess he 
held both of them at gunpoint. Then we heard a shot — " 

"Has the girl been shot?" De Lashmutt asked. 

"I'm not sure. She's bleeding from a wound on her leg. 
She surely needs an ambulance." 

The ranger had a shortwave radio in his car, but the 
area was so isolated and blocked by mountains that he 
could not get a message out to ask for deputies and an am- 
bulance. The signal was swallowed up repeatedly by the 
mammoth rock walls and cliffs. 

While the ranger was trying different bands on his ra- 
dio's reception, they heard one more shot from the woods. 
And then there was a terrible silence broken only by the 
girl's soft crying as she sank deeper into clinical shock. De 
Lashmutt grabbed his first aid kit and tried to stem the 
flow of blood fi-om the wound in her thigh. 

They knew they could drive the wounded girl out, but 
that would leave the boy at the mercy of the stranger in the 
woods. They breathed a sigh of relief when the next rig to 
approach the chaotic scene was driven by a husky truck 
driver. 

"I've got a citizens' band radio setup in my truck," he 

349 



ANN RULE 

said after they'd explained what was going on. "Let me 
give it a try." 

But he couldn't raise anyone, either. 

Tweedie and De Lashmutt sent the truck driver out to 
Highway 410, where he was more likely to make radio 
contact with sheriff's deputies. 

As the churchmen and the ranger waited, a lime green 
station wagon pulled out of the woods. The driver was 
headed straight for them, and they could see he was a 
heavy-set white male who appeared to be in his mid- 
twenties. 

He drove toward them, gaining speed. 

"That's him!" the girl shouted. "That's him!" 

Thinking quickly, and with considerable courage. Rev- 
erend Tweedie pulled his car across the road, almost com- 
pletely blocking it. The trucker followed his lead and 
pulled his rig next to Tweedie 's, closing the rest of the gap. 

There was no way the Pinto station wagon was going to 
exit Scatter Creek Road— rshort of plowing into the VW 
Beetle and the truck. It skidded to a stop. 

Tweedie and De Lashmutt grabbed the man. For some 
reason, his clothing was soaking wet — both his blue jeans 
and a brightly patterned shirt. The helpful trucker saw the 
pistol protruding from the man's right rear pocket. He 
grabbed it and placed it on the roof of the ranger's car. 
Next, he checked the rest of the stranger's pockets, but he 
didn't find any more weapons. 

With his arms pinioned by a minister and a forest 
ranger, the man who'd driven the Pinto was swearing vio- 
lently. They smelled alcohol on his breath; it was almost 
oozing out of his pores. He was behaving weirdly, and he 

350 



THE DEADLY VOYEUR 

seemed to be out of touch with reality. But his manner was 
not the main concern of the group in the woods. It was the 
boy they cared about. 

Was he alive or dead? 

Bob McCleod and the trucker grabbed the first aid kit 
and headed into the desolate area as far as they could in 
the truck driver's rig. They had to park and set out on foot 
when they came to a turnaround on the forest road. First 
they went down the Scatter Creek bypass road. 

They found nothing, and they heard nothing but poplar 
leaves quivering in a faint wind and the cry of birds. 

Next, they headed in a northward path from the turn- 
around area. When they got to Scatter Creek itself, they 
saw the teenager. He lay facedown just above the creek it- 
self And he too was nude. He was bleeding fi-om several 
areas on his body, and most of his skin was either scratched 
or bruised. 

The two men climbed over to him, praying that some- 
how he would not be dead at all but only unconscious. 

It was a forlorn hope. They touched his carotid artery 
under his ear, his wrists, and even his feet for a reassuring 
pulse. 

But there was none. Keith Person was dead. 

Gulping down the impulse to cry, they looked around the 
creek-side area. They spotted two piles of clothing — 
one obviously belonging to a teenage girl, and the other to 
the dead boy, who had probably given his life to save hers. 

None of it made any sense to these laymen, nor would it 
compute for the sheriff's detective either. The captured man, 
who smelled like a brewery and struggled with the men 
holding him, swearing obscenely, had to be at least a decade 

351 



ANN RULE 

older than the victims. A love triangle didn't seem likely. 
They would have to wait until the injured teenager felt 
well enough to talk about what had happened next to Scat- 
ter Creek. She was the only living witness. 



While the burly suspect was being held for the arrival of 
the King County deputies, Reverend Tweedie and his 
friend Bob McCleod headed into Enumclaw with the 
injured girl. Enumclaw Sergeant L. E. Robinson met them 
and led them to the hospital. 

Camilla Hutcheson had suffered extensive scratches all 
over her body as she made her desperate bid for freedom 
in the woods. At the hospital's ER, physicians verified that 
she was suffering from severe shock. 

"She's been shot, too," the doctor on duty said. 

"She was?" Tweedie asked anxiously. "We didn't know." 

"She has a wound in her left thigh that was caused by a 
small-caliber bullet," the attending doctor said to the min- 
ister and the deputies. "It's a through-and-through wound. 
She was extremely lucky. If the bullet had hit a bone in- 
stead of flesh, she might have been crippled and unable to 
escape. I believe this will prove to be a .22- or .25-caliber 
bullet. They tend to tumble over and over — bounce around 
inside — if they strike a bone, and they can destroy vital 
organs. It's much better for the patient to have a small bul- 
let pass through only soft tissue." 

Camilla would be held overnight in the hospital. But 
there was nothing that could be done to help fifteen-year- 
old Keith Person, who lay in the woods. The EMTs hadn't 
yet arrived with an ambulance; in fact, they had been told 

352 



THE DEADLY VOYEUR 

to turn back until they got further word. Although Keith 
was thought to be dead, his age and his reputation around 
town made every man connected to the case surrepti- 
tiously check for himself. The quick pressure of warm fin- 
gertips against cold flesh. The impossible hope. 

There had to be a heartbeat. Good kids like this shouldn't 
die. 

In a town the size of Enumclaw, news spreads like a 
lava flow. Already, the news (albeit a bit garbled) of what 
had happened at Scatter Creek was circulating in town. 

"We have to get to the boy's parents," Enumclaw police 
sergeant Robinson said quietly. "They must not find out on 
the street." 

Fortunately, they located Keith's parents rapidly, and 
they listened with horror and disbelief as police told them 
that he was dead. 

Death notification, especially of the young who have 
perished as the result of criminal violence, is the hardest 
assignment any detective or police officer ever has. 

But someone had to tell Keith's parents that their fine, 
healthy, popular son had been killed with two gunshots. 

"But why?" his father asked. "Why?" 

No one really knew why yet. None of it made sense. 
But the teenager was gone forever, and there was no way 
to bring him back. While his parents grieved, the search 
for answers had already begun. 



Back at the crime scene, King County deputies Mark Fern 
and Herb Duncan had reached the scene in the woods near 
Scatter Creek, followed shortly by patrol sergeant Harlan 

353 



ANN RULE 

Bollinger. They saw the red-eyed, disheveied-looking man 
who was still held tight in the grip of a forest ranger and a 
citizen who looked as though he should have been in 
church. Ironically, he should have, but Reverend Tweedie 
was determined that the stranger must not escape. Fern 
and Duncan handcuffed the suspect and placed him in the 
backseat of their patrol car. 

The deputies then attempted to further secure the area 
where Keith Person's body lay facedown. It had to be held 
sacrosanct until homicide detectives could begin their 
inch-by-inch crime-scene analysis. 

However, an odd individual refused to move on, and 
kept creeping closer to where Keith's corpse lay. He was 
about to cause them a good deal of trouble. 

The man explained that it was he who had calmed the 
suspect by putting him into "an hypnotic trance." Fern and 
Sergeant Bollinger exchanged glances; the prisoner hadn't 
seemed at all "calm" to them. 

Now, the self-styled psychic insisted on remaining at 
the spot next to Scatter Creek. Finally, with the aid of state 
trooper Earl Gasaway, the weird man was secured in the 
trooper's vehicle until he could give a statement. 

As the investigators had suspected, the man's meander- 
ing explanations proved that he had nothing whatsoever to 
do with the case; he had merely been passing by and 
wanted to become involved in "the excitement." 

Deputy Fern, too, had checked Keith Person's vital 
signs, hoping as they all had that he might still be alive. 
Fern then took possession of the gun retrieved from the 
man in the. green Pinto. It was a Colt .25-caliber semi-au- 
tomatic. The deputy marked his initials on the butt of the 

354 



THE DEADLY VOYEUR 

gun with a green felt pen and later turned it over to detec- 
tive Rolf Grunden to be placed into evidence. Fern also 
found a .25-caliber bullet in the suspect's pants pocket. 

With instructions from Sergeant Len Randall, Fern 
transported the suspect to the Enumclaw Police Depart- 
ment headquarters, where he was advised of his rights 
under the Miranda Rule. He agreed to take a Breathalyzer 
test to determine the percentage of alcohol in his system. 
The results showed a concentration of only .02, nowhere 
near the legal level of intoxication. 

The suspect, whose wide, bland face and rosy cheeks 
made him look like anyone but a murderer, said his name 
was Jerry Lee Ross, and that he was twenty-six. He was 
currently working as a ripsaw operator at Harris Pine 
Mills, a local firm. He was five feet, eight inches tall, and 
weighed a hefty 1 80 pounds. 

Ross told detectives that he lived with his wife and two 
toddler daughters on Pioneer Street in Enumclaw. 

He seemed proud of his service as a U.S. Marine and 
said he'd received an honorable discharge. After that, 
he'd attended Green River Community College in Au- 
burn, in the hope of finding another career; lumber mill 
jobs were fine for young men, but he had seen the hard 
physical work wear down men who'd stayed too long at 
the mill. 



Why had Jerry Ross shot two high school kids? That was 
the question in everyone's mind. Detective Rolf Grunden 
checked to see what might be on Ross's rap sheet — if, 
indeed, he had one. Jerry Ross did, but it was for penny 

355 



ANN RULE 

ante stuff and showed only numerous traffic arrests, in- 
cluding a few DWIs. Nothing that could be considered a 
violent crime. 

There was not the slightest explanation for the horror 
that had erupted in the woods. 

Jerry Ross was asked to remove his clothing while he 
stood on a clean white sheet. Often minuscule pieces of 
evidence can be found as they drop to a sheet. There were 
a few evergreen needles, some dirt, but those would only 
tend to validate Scatter Creek as the site of the murder — 
and the investigators were already pretty sure of that. 

Ross then dressed in clean coveralls and awaited trans- 
portation to the King County Jail. 

It seemed that this one day was at least a week long. It 
was getting dark, but that was natural in March. Back near 
Scatter Creek, detectives Ted Forrester and Bruce Morri- 
son surveyed the crime scene. The dead youth still lay 
facedown, his slight frame stretched along the ground. 
Someone — maybe a deputy — had thrown a blue shirt 
across the youngster's back as if to protect him from the 
cold he no longer felt. 

The two piles of clothing told the graphic story that 
inanimate objects often do: a green plaid jacket, a pair of 
boy's shoes with socks tucked inside, a pair of jeans with a 
watch in the back pocket, a pair of boy's jockey shorts; the 
girl's brown leather jacket, her blue jeans with bloodstains 
on the thigh, a blue sweater, a white bra, a pair of blue and 
white panties, a pair of small blue tennis shoes, a red cloth ^ 
purse. And a copy of The Story Bible. 

"Someone forced those kids to undress — and you can 
see they took as long as they could, delaying what was 

356 



THE DEADLY VOYEUR 

coming," Ted Forrester said. "See how carefully every- 
thing is folded?" 

Forrester took pictures of the evidence and the surround- 
ing scene. There were tire tracks — distinctive impressions 
left by relatively narrow new tires. After Forrester finished, 
Morrison made plaster moulages that showed the treads, 
tire size, and even small marks that indicated where rocks 
or stones had marked the tires. In many ways, tires are like 
teeth when used as identifying factors. Wear and tear, scars, 
distance measurements, placement of teeth and treads. 

Morrison and Forrester found bullet casings, too, from 
a small-caliber weapon. Ballistics experts would be able to 
tell them exactly which weapon, more precisely. 

As Keith Person's body was removed to be transported 
to the King County Medical Examiner's Office in Seattle, 
an angry crowd gathered outside Enumclaw Police 
Department headquarters. Jerry Ross sat inside the police 
headquarters in a tightly secured room. He had requested 
to talk with a minister, and investigators had arranged for 
one to visit him. 

Still, the situation had all the elements of an ugly con- 
frontation, one not dissimilar from old-time lynchings. 
The crowd outside was growing bigger every minute, and 
they wanted to get their hands on Jerry Ross. To forestall a 
possible rush on the building by citizens caught up in the 
mob mentality. Lieutenant Richard Kraske and Sergeant 
Len Randall decided that the suspect must be removed at 
once through a rear entrance. 

They managed to distract the furious throng out in front 
of the police station, while they rushed a disguised Jerry 
Ross out to Rolf Grunden's car. Grunden drove out of 

357 



ANN RULE 

town on back streets, with a deputy following close behind 
in another vehicle. 

The Seattle jail was high atop a building, and much 
more secure. During the ride into Seattle, Ross spoke 
about his life as a marine. 

"I was a rifleman in Vietnam," he said, almost wistfully. 
He spoke of his years in the Marine Corps, the camarade- 
rie, and somehow managed to make even war sound like a 
good place to make friends. 

After fifteen minutes, Ross's voice trailed off. 

"I think I would like to think a little bit," he said. 

"Go head," Grunden said. "You probably do have some ; 
thinking to do." 



There was, of course, one person other than the suspect ; 
who knew exactly what had happened in those bleak woods 
that edged up to Scatter Creek. And that was sixteen-year- 
old Camilla Hutcheson. Somehow, she gained the strenjgth i 
to give a statement to detective Jerry Harris. The investiga- 
tors hated to ask her to remember the horror she'd been 
through, but they also knew that her memory might well 
become flawed as time passed. Jerry Ross was a dangerous 
man, and they wanted to be sure he wasn't out on the street 
within a matter of months. 

They felt he would soon be stalking other vulnerable , 
victims. jl 

"Start by telling me about your afternoon," Harris said. 
"Just tell me what you remember?" 

"It was about one p.m.," Camilla began. "I was walking^ 
down the highway with Keith Person. And I saw a guy 

358 



THE DEADLY VOYEUR 

drive by once in a green Pinto and then he drove by again. 
[When we were] near the Safeway he stopped and rolled 
down his window, and asked if we wanted a ride. Keith 
looked at me and I said 'No.' I asked Keith if he knew the 
guy. He said he thought he did." 

She closed her eyes as she recalled what had been a 
deadly decision for them. She and Keith had walked over 
to the car smiling, but as they drew closer, Keith touched 
her arm — firmly enough to let her know he wanted her to 
stop. 

"I don't know him at all," he whispered out of the side 
of his mouth. "Let's take off." 

Camilla said they'd half turned away from the green 
Pinto, ready to run toward the shopping section. 

"It was too late," she said faintly. "When we looked 
back to see if the man was driving away, we saw that he 
was still there, and he had a little gun in his hand. He was 
aiming it right at us." 

"You're going for a ride with me," the stranger ordered 
in a menacing but authoritative voice. 

"We felt as if we didn't have a choice," Camilla 
recalled. "We thought he was going to shoot us." 

They got into the front seat of the Pinto, and the man 
started driving toward Crystal Mountain. He turned off the 
main road near the Mud Mountain Dam, but there was 
another car on the road ahead. Their captor had muttered 
that it was "too light out," and he turned around. 

Camilla hadn't known what he had in mind, but she 
knew it wasn't anything good and she begged him to let 
them go. If he would just let them out on the highway, 
they'd find their way back to Enumclaw. 

359 



ANN RULE 

"Just let us go," she said. "I promise we won't tell any- 
one!" she had pleaded. 

"It's too late" was their captor's cryptic response. 

While Camilla tried to reason with the man, Keith was 
trying to get the door open and jump out, pulling Camilla 
with him. He signaled his intention with his eyes, and she 
understood — and was ready to jump with him. 

"But Keith couldn't get the door open without the man 
knowing," she said. "He had these seat belts, and they 
buzzed really loud if they got unhooked. The guy would 
have been alerted right away if we tried to jump out." 

Their kidnapper kept driving along narrower and nar- 
rower roads. It was daylight, but the trees surrounding 
them hid the sky and made it feel like dusk. Maybe it was, 
she'd thought. Maybe they'd been driving for hours; in her 
terror, she had lost track of time. 

Camilla continued to plead for their release, but she got 
on the stranger's nerves. Suddenly, she heard the gun fire 
and felt a stinging pain in her thigh. 

"I was facing Keith when he shot me. I felt it and I 
could see the blood and I screamed. The man said if I 
didn't shut up, he would do it again." 

When they were an estimated two or three miles past 
the Mud Mountain Dam, the driver turned the car down a 
gravel road. Evidently, he had found it dark enough and ^ 
secluded enough to serve his purposes. 

"He made us get out of the car, and then he reached 
into the backseat and came out carrying this collapsible i 
shovel. That was scary, because we wondered why he 
needed a shovel?" 



360 ; 



THE DEADLY VOYEUR 

Camilla drew a deep breath and tried to keep her voice 
from trembling. Their abductor's next request had first 
struck them as so ridiculous and humiliating that they 
didn't believe him at first. 

"He ordered us to take off our clothes. He was holding 
the gun in his right hand. And it was a very small gun. 
He'd already shot me with it, and I was still standing up. 

"Keith and I looked at each other and laughed." 

But they'd soon learned it wasn't a joke. "He said we'd 
better do as we were told." 

And so they removed their clothing, taking as much 
time as possible, taking off their jewelry, watches, tucking 
socks inside shoes, folding garments very slowly and 
carefiilly. They were both terribly embarrassed, and hoped 
the man with the gun would tell them to stop before they 
were totally naked. 

But he said nothing, watching them with glittering eyes 
until they were both completely nude. 

"Now you've got to make love to her!" the man barked 
at Keith Person. 

"We just stood there and looked at each other," Camilla 
recalled from her hospital bed. "We just couldn't do that. 
Neither of us ever had. It was crazy." 

When the stranger realized that the teenagers were ada- 
mant in refusing to have sexual intercourse despite the gun 
he held on them, he ordered Camilla to perform an act 
with a beer bottle. She had never heard of such a thing in 
her life. She was shocked and incredulous. 

Again, Camilla courageously refused, staring defiantly 
at the madman in front of her. 



361 



ANN RULE 

Their captor was angry, but Keith was angry, too. He 
moved in front of Camilla to protect her. The man he faced 
not only had a loaded gun but outweighed Keith by about 
forty pounds. He'd been trained as a fighting marine, and 
Keith was only a sophomore in high school. 

Camilla told Detective Jerry Harris that the "crazy man" 
picked up his shovel then. 

"He started to hit Keith on the head with it," she said, 
tears running down her face. "I knew I had to get help. I 
didn't see Keith fall, but I knew that both Keith and I to- 
gether wouldn't be a match for the 'madman,' and his gun 
and his shovel." 

While their kidnapper was distracted by beating Keith, 
Camilla ran for the bushes and then leaped and rolled 
down the twenty-five-foot cliff into Scatter Creek. She re- 
membering blacking out when she hit the water. She felt 
as if she were drunk, or dizzy, or in a nightmare where 
nothing made sense. 

Half walking and half floating in the icy water, she 
worked her way toward the bridge ahead. Several times, 
the dark waves of oblivion rolled over her and she sank 
beneath the water, but the frigid water helped to snap her 
back to consciousness. 

"And then I looked up and I saw the man with the gun 
above me. He'd been following me along the bank." 

Somewhere she'd heard the term "like shooting fish in a 
barrel." She felt like the fish, trapped without any protec- 
tion at all. 

"He told me to get out of the creek and come back up 
the bank," Camilla said. "And I did what he said, but I 
didn't stop when I crawled up. I figured that somehow I'd 

362 



THE DEADLY VOYEUR 

survived the first bullet, and maybe the next one wouldn't 
kill me either. I knew he was going to shoot me." 

As Camilla reached solid ground, she said she'd begun 
to run, ignoring the shouts of the man behind her. She 
heard him fire the gun again, and waited for the sting in 
her back, but this time the bullet didn't hit her. 

And then, mercifiilly, she broke out through the brush 
and ran to the safety of the minister's car. 

"I knew he would have killed me if he caught me . . ." 

Camilla said she had never seen the man before but 
knew she would recognize him again. Despite his bizarre 
demands that she and Keith perform sexually for him, he 
had not touched her himself. 



Why on earth had the suspect taken the helpless teenagers 
for that forced ride? 

Detective Grunden tried to sort out some of the answers 
as he took a statement from Jerry Lee Ross. Again, Ross 
had been fully advised of his rights and^ after talking to his 
pastor, he said that he wanted to tell the truth about what 
had happened. 

He recalled that he'd seen the two young people walk- 
ing toward Enumclaw. He wasn't sure of the time, but he 
decided he'd ask them if they wanted a lift. He denied he 
had forced them into the car. 

"As we were driving the girl asked me where we were 
going. About that time I pulled out a gun alongside the 
driver's seat. I had put the gun next to the seat before I left 
home in the morning. The gun is a .25-caliber automatic, a 
Colt. I'd loaded it with seven shots. 

363 



ANN RULE 

"I told them to keep their mouths shut — that we were 
just going for a ride." 

But, as he continued his statement, Ross admitted that 
he was thinking about the girl as they drove. At first, he'd 
considered "laying her" himself. 

"Then I thought about watching them do it," he said. "I 
also thought I could tie the boy up and 'play' with the girl. 
I already had a leather shoestring in my car that I planned 
to use. 

"As we were driving, the girl asked for a cigarette. The 
gun went off accidentally when I reached for one." 

Jerry Ross's version of the attack grew more tangled as 
he spoke, the wheels spinning in his mind almost visible 
to Grunden as he wrote down the words. 

"I think the bullet hit the horn because it was honking. 
The bullet struck the girl's left leg. I unscrewed the horn 
and stopped it from honking. The girl was screaming. I 
said something like shut up or I would do it again — or 
something like that." 

Ross recalled how he turned off onto a dirt road and 
drove to the end. He described getting the shovel from the 
back of his car because he planned to knock the boy out so 
that he could molest the girl. 

"We walked to an old bridge site. We walked about a 
hundred feet. I told them to take off their clothes. They 
were reluctant at first. The girl asked me to let them go — I 
told them no." 

Ross told how he watched while the teenagers shed 
their clothing. 

"I ordered them to have sex with each other," he contin- 



364 



THE DEADLY VOYEUR 

ued, "but they wouldn't do it. When they refused, I offered 
the beer bottle to the girl." 

Ross's statement of the attack was so depraved that it 
was difficult for even veteran detectives to listen to it. 

When Keith's back was turned, Ross said he'd hit him 
twice on the back of the head with the shovel. "He kind of 
dodged the blows, but I knocked him to the ground. Then 
he got up, sort of ran or turned around. 

"The girl started running down the hill. I shot at the 
boy." 

Ross said he had chased the girl until he couldn't see 
where she was. Then he said he had disarmed his gun. 
He'd returned to the scene and found Keith Person lying 
facedown. "I didn't see any blood. He wasn't moving." 

No, Keith Person wasn't moving. Even had he lived, he 
would not have moved again. He'd been shot — not once, 
but three times, with one of the slugs lodging in his spinal 
column. 

That may very well have been the first shot that hit the 
brave teenager, and it would have paralyzed him from the 
vertebrae it hit, taking away any feeling below that level. 
A .25-caliber slug is not all that large, but it would have 
severed forever the vital nerve pathways needed to walk, 
run, ski. A second shot had perforated his right pelvis and 
small bowel. The third shot entered Keith Person's head 
near the midline in the back. It was a near-contact wound, 
characteristically star-shaped, marked with smudging and 
searing of the tissues. 

It now looked very much as though someone had delib- 
erately placed the gun close to the boy's head and fired 



365 



ANN RULE 

while he lay helpless from the spinal wound. This was 
probably the shot, coming from deep in the woods, that 
Reverend Tweedie, Bob McCleod, and Camilla had heard. 

And the investigators understood now why Jerry Ross's 
clothing was soaking wet when he came barreling out in 
his car; he'd gone into Scatter Creek to try to grab Camilla, 
but her youthful agility had given her the strength to get 
away and dash up the bank. 

Processing of Jerry Lee Ross's car substantiated state- 
ments taken from Camilla and from Ross himself. Among 
the items found were: an expended shell casing (from the 
shot that penetrated Camilla's leg); a brown holster next to 
the driver's seat; the horn's rim that had been struck when 
the bullet was fired at Camilla; the green collapsible 
shovel; the leather thong that Ross had planned to use to 
tie up Keith while he molested Camilla. The tire measure- 
ments matched the photos and moulages made at the 
scene. 

Jerry Lee Ross had had the .25 -caliber automatic since 
March 8, 1974 — only two weeks before. At the time he 
obtained a permit to carry it, he had listed "self-protection 
and sports" as his reason for wanting a gun. 

There wasn't much doubt that he had premeditated a 
sexual attack on someone. He just hadn't known who at 
the time he bought the gun. Filled with rage, Ross had 
been a prowling, stalking, killing machine. 



Charged with first-degree murder and first-degree assault, 
Ross was denied bail by Justice Court Judge Evans Mano- 
lides. 

366 



THE DEADLY VOYEUR 

On April 26, 1974, Jerry Lee Ross pleaded guilty to 
both counts. Later, he received a long prison sentence — 
but not a life sentence. When he was released, he spent 
the last of his free years living about fifteen miles from 
Enumclaw, 

What insidious tracery of cruelty moving through 
Ross's brain caused the death of a young man of great 
potential and the emotional scars on a heretofore trusting 
young girl is something that a psychiatrist might be able to 
explain. He wasn't intoxicated when he shot Camilla and 
Keith. He might have suffered from post-traumatic stress 
disorder after serving in Vietnam, but that diagnosis was 
seldom accepted in courtrooms in 1974. He might have 
been a run-of-the-mill sociopath, capable of neither empa- 
thy nor guilt. 

For the parents and siblings of the two kidnapped 
youngsters, it really doesn't matter anymore. Their losses 
are irreplaceable. And, for the community of Enumclaw, 
there is a diminishment, too: gone forever are innocence 
and trust and the feeling that violence happens only in the 
big cities. 

If there was any good to come out of the tragedy of 
March 22, 1974, it is the knowledge that passersby did 
help, and that they cared enough to stop and risk their own 
lives in an effort to save Camilla Hutcheson. Without 
them, she might very well be dead, too. 



Today Keith Person would have been fifty years old. He 
never got to graduate from high school, go to college, 
marry, become a father, or have a career he enjoyed. 

367 



ANN RULE 

Camilla Hutcheson is fifty-one, but she has disap- 
peared from the public eye, cherishing her privacy. Cer- 
tainly, she has carried the weight of a tragic and ultimately 
frightening memory over the thirty-five years that have 
passed since Keith died. To maintain her privacy, I have 
changed her name. 

All the detectives who worked to unravel this unbeliev- 
able case have long since retired, and a few are deceased. 

Jerry Lee Ross died on January 14, 2006, at the age of 
fifty-nine. The one thing in his life he was proud of was 
his service as a corporal in the Marine Corps. He lies bur- 
ied among other soldiers, sailors, and marines in Tahoma 
National Cemetery in Kent, Washington. 

The reason why he shot at two helpless kids died with 
him. And maybe even he didn't know why. 



368 



DARK FOREST: 
DEEP DANGER 



The state of Oregon voices a philosophy about tour- 
ists — only half in jest: "Visit us but don't move here." Na- 
tive Oregonians and "near-natives" cling to the fond hope 
that they can keep Oregon's natural glories free of the 
megalopolis congestion that chokes other parts of Amer- 
ica, and keep the air as crystalline and pure as it was in 
pioneer days, when weary travelers first glimpsed what 
was indeed a promised land. Oregon may very well be the 
ideal spot in America to raise a young family, and the 
Medford-Jacksonville area in the southwestern part of 
the state is one of its choicest regions. 

Those Harry and David fruit baskets sent for Christ- 
mas and other celebrations — every juicy piece wrapped in 
tissue paper — come from the orchards growing around 
Medford. 

In Jackson County, the thick stands of towering fir al- 
ternate on the horizon with dry chaparral, and gold and 
green rolling hills give way to emerald-shaded mountains 
that rise higher and higher and then disappear into clouds 
or, perhaps, infinity. Until the recent recession, jobs were 
almost always plentiful for an able-bodied man willing to 

371 



ANN RULE 

work in the orchards, the woods, computer companies, 
and the many industries necessary to maintain the com- 
fortable standard of Uving local residents enjoy. In the last 
thirty years or so, myriad businesses have expanded to 
cater to the burgeoning tourist trade. Fishermen, hunters, 
campers, and those who seek to recapture a sense of how 
it was more than a century ago, vacation in Jackson 
County. 

The Rogue River and the Applegate River wind their 
way through the county, although today a section of the 
Applegate has long been dammed up to become Applegate 
Lake, flooding small hamlets such as Copper, which no 
longer exists above water. Sturgis Fork and Carberry 
Creek also flourish near Jacksonville. 

None of the main characters in this very sad true story 
were tourists, however; most were native born, descended 
from Oregon families who have been around for genera- 
tions. 

Some had chosen Oregon to be their home state. 

In the case — or rather, cases — below, we will follow 
three families. One was to be admired and emulated, at 
least until they met up with pure evil in a deceptively 
peaceful setting. The next was downright odd — and vio- 
lent. The third family was small, only a mother-to-be and 
the infant she carried in her womb. There was a common 
denominator among them, of course. 

Their lives became inexorably linked, their fates en- 
twined, all their names noted in media reports and news- 
paper articles. The five victims might have avoided their 
fates if the. dates or times they met with a stalker were 
changed just a little. If they had shopped for groceries a 

372 



DARK FOREST: DEEP DANGER 

half hour earlier, if it had rained, if a car hadn't broken 
down ... so many minute aspects of anyone's day can 
change fate. 

Or, possibly, they are fate? 

The first victims had no reason to be afraid. They were 
virtually home when they met unimaginable cruelty and 
danger. They trusted the land, the woods, their neighbors, 
and even strangers. 

Their stalker wasn't afraid, either. Nonetheless, he 
trusted no one and had no sense of guilt or conscience in 
the dark places behind his charismatic smile. 

The last victim should have died, and would have 
died — had she not been incredibly brave. She clung to her 
life and her baby's life, as she realized to her horror that 
she was the only one who could save them. 



In the summer of 1974, twenty-eight-year-old Richard 
Cowden and his family lived in White City, Oregon, a 
town with about 6,500 residents. Like his brothers, he was 
a handsome man. Cowden was a logging truck driver, han- 
dling those behemoths of the blacktop with their loads of 
felled timber giants as easily as another man might pilot a 
Volkswagen Bug. It was hard work, but the pay was excel- 
lent and he enjoyed the woods, with the pungent smell of 
evergreens mixed with sawdust and the sound of keening 
chain saws. 

Cowden had a family to support and protect, and he 
cherished them. There was his wife — Belinda June, twenty- 
two, a pretty, dark-haired woman; five-year-old David 
James; and the new arrival, five-month-old Melissa Dawn. 

373 



ANN RULE 

They lived in a three-bedroom, two-bathroom home, com- 
plete with mortgage, of course, but they were chipping 
away at that. They had two cars, one a 1956 Ford pickup 
that they used for camping, they were making payments on 
the 1970 sedan, a vacuum cleaner, and some new house- 
hold furnishings. They still managed to maintain two sav- 
ings accounts. 

Richard and Belinda were close to their extended fami- 
lies. This solidarity helped them all get through a spate of 
serious family illness. Three sons had been born to the 
elder Cowdens; the oldest brother died of cancer when he 
was only twenty-five. Richard was bom next, followed 
thirteen months later by his brother Wes. They had a sister 
named Susan. Because he'd started school at four, Richard 
was held back a year, so he and Wes ended up in the same 
grade, and they went through school together, further ce- 
menting the already close bond between them. 

Richard Cowden was content and at ease in his world, 
but in late summer 1974 he faced someone unlike anyone 
else he had ever known. 

By Labor Day weekend that year, the Cowdens' freezer 
was filled for winter, and Belinda's vegetable garden still 
thrived. They had just finished redecorating young David's 
bedroom, and he was looking forward to starting kmder- 
garten. Their first Christmas with baby Melissa lay ahead. 
It seemed as if they had the perfect life. 

The Cowdens loved to camp out, but they hadn't 
planned to go camping on the Labor Day holiday. Richard 
had arranged to borrow his boss's tnick to haul a load of 
gravel for his driveway, and he expected to spend the 
weekend spreading the gravel. 

374 



DARK FOREST: DEEP DANGER 

The irony of fate, bad luck, or chance, or whatever we 
choose to call it, intervened. The truck broke down, and no 
amount of tinkering with it got it going. Secretly, Richard 
wasn't really disappointed, because it meant they could 
take a few days for fun instead of spending them shoveling 
gravel. 

Belinda fixed a picnic, and they packed up kids, their 
dog. Droopy, supplies, fishing poles, and disposable dia- 
pers for Melissa, and they all headed for Carberry Creek, 
twenty-five miles southwest of Medford. 

The camping area in the mountains is isolated. The 
town of Copper had yet to be flooded, and it was close by. 
But "town" meant a crossroads, a country store, and a few 
houses. A scattering of farms popped up downstream from 
the campsite the Cowdens picked on Carberry Creek, but 
upstream the land became deep woods. 

The drive to reach Carberry Creek was part of the fun 
of the outing. The Cowdens' old pickup passed through 
Jacksonville, once a booming gold-rush town. Many of the 
fine old homes built in the last century still stand in Jack- 
sonville, with turrets, gables, and intricate fretwork all ad- 
vertising that they once belonged to men who had struck it 
rich. The old county courthouse is there, too, now. a mu- 
seum, filled with the rusting tools of the men who sought 
gold in the streams and earth of Jackson County, The 
Cowdens were aw^are that even in the 1 970s, the challenge 
of a fortune still waiting in the ground drew miners, but 
they were only looking for a quiet spot to fish and picnic. 

Richard turned in to their favorite site along Carberry 
Creek Road, and he parked the pickup on the road above 
their campsite. There was a picnic table close to the creek, 

375 



ANN RULE 

trees for shade. The creek itself was less than a foot deep 
this late in the summer, and as clear as glass. 

They planned to camp until Sunday and then stop at 
Belinda's mother's house in Copper for dinner on Sunday, 
September 1 , before returning home. The weather was so 
perfect and the scenery so beautifully peaceful that they 
were glad the gravel truck had broken down. 

Melissa played happily on a blanket while young David 
and the basset hound, Droopy, scampered around. Then 
Richard and David fished while Belinda prepared lunch on 
the camp stove. 

Even though the Cowdens knew the area well and had 
been to Carberry Creek many times, there was always 
something new to discover. Belinda and Richard kept a 
close eye on David; there were still mine shafts around 
from the old days, as well as wild animals and deceptively 
deep spots in the tranquil creek. 

Belinda's mother lived just under a mile from where 
they camped; her home was one of the few in Copper. If it 
grew cold or rainy during the night, or if one of the young- 
sters became ill, they could always pack up and be under a 
sheltering roof in no time. 

The thought of danger was probably one of the farthest 
things from the Cowdens' minds as they enjoyed the lazy 
Labor Day camping trip. Beyond the normal caution that 
any young family takes while camping outdoors, they had 
nothing to fear — or believed they didn't. 

On Sunday morning, September 1 , David and his father 
hiked the mile into Copper and visited the general store. 
They bought a carton of milk and walked off toward their 
camp. They appeared perfectly normal — happy, certainly 

376 



> 



DARK FOREST: DEEP DANGER 

not under any pressure, nor anxious about Belinda and 
Melissa, whom they had left alone back at camp. 

Later'in the day, in Copper, Belinda's mother prepared 
a big family dinner and waited for her daughter's family to 
arrive. The hot dishes grew cold and the cold ones warm 
as time passed. Too much time. It just wasn't like Belinda 
to be late for a dinner; she knew how much trouble it was 
for the cook when guests were late, and she was a consid- 
erate young woman. At length, the older woman took off 
her apron and drove to the campsite. She had no trouble 
finding it. The Cowdens' pickup truck was parked up on 
Carberry Creek Road, headed down toward the general 
store. Richard had been doing that lately, in case the bat- 
tery failed. 

She walked down to the creek, fiilly expecting to see 
the family. 

They weren't there, and she felt the first niggling pricks 
of panic. All their lives were so predictable, and they kept 
in touch as often as they could. There were, of course, no 
cell phones in 1 974, and she had no way to call her daugh- 
ter and son-in-law. She was positive that they wouldn't 
simply have forgotten about having dinner at her house 
and driven on home. 

Belinda wouldn't do that. Besides, it was obvious that 
they hadn't packed up their campsite. And their truck was 
still up on the road. 

A plastic dishpan full of now-cold water sat near the 
picnic table. And on the table itself was a carton half-fiill of 
milk, dishes and silverware stacked neatly. (The milk would 
turn out to be the same milk that Richard and David had 
purchased Sunday morning, and it would help to establish a 

377 



ANN RULE 

time line.) The keys to the pickxip were on the table. Belin- 
da's purse was in plain sight. Fishing poles leaned against a 
nearby tree. Even little Melissa's diaper bag was there, and 
the camp stove was nearby, still assembled. 

It looked as if the family had taken a walk into the 
woods, expecting to come back momentarily. Belinda's 
mother called their names, and her own voice hung in the 
air, startling and eerie in the silence that followed. No one 
answered. Even the birds stopped chirping. 

When does one begin to be really afraid? 

She walked closer to Carberry Creek itself She was 
somewhat reassured to see how low it was, barely wading 
depth. They couldn't all have drowned, although she knew 
Richard and Belinda would have jumped into deep water 
to save their children. They would do anything to save 
their children. 

And then her eye caught sight of something else. Rich- 
ard Cowden's wallet lay on the ground. His mother-in-law 
picked it up and saw that there was twenty-three dollars 
inside. Close by, she found his expensive wristwatch, and 
an opened package of cigarettes, her daughter's brand. 

Even if the family had decided to go into the forest to 
explore or to pick berries, she doubted that they would 
have left such valuable items as a purse, wallet, watch, and 
truck keys behind. 

Belinda's mom moved back to the truck. All the cloth- 
ing they had brought with them was there — with the ex- 
ception of their bathing suits. And bathing suits and 
blackberry thorns don't mix. If they'd meant to go hiking, 
they would certainly have changed into more appropriate 
clothing. 

378 



DARK FOREST: DEEP DANGER 

Puzzled and more than a little frightened now, she sat 
down at the picnic table to wait. She tried to tell herself 
that they'd all be trooping into camp in a minute and she 
wouldn't have to admit how worried she'd been. She tried 
to be angry because her supper was ruined, but her gnaw- 
ing fear overcame the anger. 

What could have happened? Was there a deep hole 
beneath the calm surface of the creek — or maybe even a 
whirlpool? Could David have fallen in and Richard and 
Belinda gone to his aid? Could they all have drowned? But 
what about Melissa? Left alone on the creek's edge, she 
would be helpless; she couldn't yet crawl, could barely 
turn over. And she was always kept in her plastic infant 
seat. Where was that? 

Her grandmother's mind raced, picking up and then 
churning all kinds of thoughts about tragedy and disaster. 
All right. Face it. If they all drowned, where was Droopy? 
A dog could survive where a human couldn't. 

And Droopy was gone, too. 

She strained her ears for the familiar hoarse whooping 
sound of the basset hound's bark— but all she heard was 
the gentle sighing of the fir trees and the lapping water in 
the creek. 

Although summer days are long in Oregon, Belinda's 
mother could see the sun sinking in the west, and she 
knew she had to get help before it was fully dark. With one 
last look around the deserted campsite, one last hard listen 
to the woods that might hold a terrible secret, she ran to 
her car. Ten minutes later she called Jackson County Sher- 
iff Duane Franklin's office. 

The dispatcher listened to her story, tried to comfort her, 

379 



ANN RULE 

but thought privately that the report didn't sound good. 
Sheriff's men and troopers from the District 3 office of the 
Oregon State PoHce arrived at the Carberry Creek scene. It 
was just as Belinda's mother had described it. Certainly the 
young family had been there — and recently — but they were 
not there now. The men's voices echoed in the wind as they 
called out the Cowdens' names, and their shouts drew no 
more response than had hers. 

An accident could have happened, of course — but to an 
entire family? They doubted the creek was either deep or 
swift or wide enough to cause them all to drown. At any 
rate they agreed that the dog would have survived, but he 
was gone. 

There were animals in the deep woods — brown bears, 
coyotes, cougars, some poisonous snakes. 

There might have been human "animals," too. Prowling, 
stalking voyeurs more dangerous than bears and cougars. 
Still, the lawmen, too, figured there had to be a reasonable 
explanation. Maybe one of the Cowdens had been injured 
in an accident or a fall, and other campers had taken them 
all to a hospital. 

When it became too dark to effect a thorough search, 
the investigators departed for the night, with officers left 
behind to guard the spot. A ftiU-scale search would begin 
in the morning. 



One member of the Cowden family did show up the next 
morning, but he couldn't talk. Early Monday morning, 
September 2, Droopy, the basset hound, scratched at the 



380 



I 



DARK FOREST: DEEP DANGER 



door of the general store in Copper. Perhaps the only liv- 
ing witness to the fate of the Cowden family, Droopy had 
no way of telling the officers what he had seen. The dog 
was hungry and tired but did not appear to have been in- 
jured in any way. Where had Droopy been all night? 

The Cowdens, however, did not show up. There has 
probably never been a more massive search effort in the 
state of Oregon than the search for the Cowden family. 
Oregon State Police, Jackson County sheriff's officers, the 
Oregon National Guard, Explorer Scouts, the U.S. Forest 
Service, and scores of volunteers were sure — at least in 
the beginning — that they could find them. 

Lieutenant Mark Kezar, assistant commander of the 
Oregon State Police's District 3 division, took on the over- 
all coordination of the search and the subsequent investi- 
gation. A year later, he remarked wryly, "I felt like that 
campground was my second home." 

In retrospect, Kezar regretted that the investigation 
didn't start at top speed immediately and was delayed "for 
maybe a day" because there was no sign of violence at the 
Cowdens' campsite. No blood, nothing broken. Nothing 
stolen. He agonized for months over that delay. 

Scores of police personnel and reserves searched the 
Carberry Creek campsite for a few weeks, and almost a 
dozen detectives worked the case as a task force for five 
months. 

The U.S. Forest Service rangers checked every road 
and trail within a twenty-five-mile radius of the camp- 
ground. Planes and helicopters flew as low as they dared, 
taking infi-ared photographs. If the Cowdens had been 



381 



ANN RULE 

killed and buried, the freshly turned dirt and dying vegeta- 
tion would appear bright red on the film, although it might 
well be invisible to the naked eye. 

Investigators at the campground looked in vain for 
footprints, tire tracks, or for a pattern of scuff marks in the 
dirt that might indicate a struggle had taken place. But 
there was nothing at all. 

Oregon, the pioneer state, has long been known for a 
very modern skill. The state has outstanding forensic sci- 
ence labs, and their crime scene investigators are well 
trained. But they have to have something to work with. 
There were no footprints, no tire tracks with which to 
form moulages. On their hands and knees, CSIs sifted the 
dirt at the Cowdens' camp, looking for metal fragments 
(from slugs and/or bullet casings), cloth, buttons, ID, and 
any other infinitesimal clue that might still be there. 

They found nothing that would help solve the disap- 
pearances. Someone — or some "thing" — had entered the 
Cowdens' camp and taken the family away, literally with- 
out a trace. 

It was almost as if some craft from outer space had 
hovered, landed, and carried off a typical American family 
to examine in some far-off planet. But would they ever 
bring them back? 

Law enforcement investigators think in far more prag- 
matic ways and tend not to believe in such things as psy- 
chics, crystal balls, and alien abductions. They continued 
to search for the Cowden family. 

More and more, it looked as if someone had kidnapped 
the Cowdens. But why? Robbery obviously hadn't been 
the motivation. Richard's wallet, his watch, his truck — 

382 



DARK FOREST: DEEP DANGER 

complete with keys — were there. A sexual attack was 
quite possible. Belinda Cowden was a lovely young 
woman; left alone at the campsite, clad in a bathing suit 
with only a friendly basset hound for protection, she could 
have inspired lust in the mind of someone hiking in the 
area. 

But wouldn't that mean that only Belinda and Melissa 
should be missing? And, if Richard Cowden and David 
had walked back to find intruders in the campsite and a 
fight had ensued, wouldn't there be evidence of a struggle? 
Why would the entire family be missing now? 

Lieutenant Kezar and his fellow Oregon State Police 
officers — Lieutenant George Winterfeld, Sergeant Ernie 
Walden, and troopers Lee Erickson and Darin Parker — set 
up task force headquarters at the camp. They called for aid 
from state police technical experts in Salem, the state 
capital. 

Sheriff Franklin cut down on some patrols and shifts so 
that he could make every man possible available for the 
search that was becoming more baffling by the day. 

They searched the abandoned mine shafts, as well as 
both sides of every creek, river, and gully for miles. If, 
however improbably, the Cowdens had drowned, their 
bodies would have surfaced and been caught in the rocks 
and debris downstream in Carberry Creek. 

But none of them did — nor was even a shred of cloth 
fi-om a bathing suit found. 

They brought in bloodhounds and necrosearch dogs — 
the canines trained to pick up scents of either living crea- 
tures or dead bodies. They were given the scents of the 
Cowden family from clothing left behind at the campsite. 

383 



ANN RULE 

The dogs started out enthusiastically, but they soon ran in 
circles, then stopped and looked at their trainers as if to 
say, "What is it you want us to find?" 

State police detectives talked cautiously to the press, 
who soon sensed a story of highly unusual circumstances. 
Erickson commented, "That camp was spooky; even the 
milk was still on the table." 

Sergeant Walden agreed. "It's getting to look really 
strange. It's not logical that a couple like that would take 
off with two young kids and leave all their belongings." 

As the weeklong intensive search continued, there 
wasn't a person in the whole Northwest who could read or 
watch TV who hadn't heard about the missing family. 

The closest thing to a clue was a report that hikers had 
seen a dog, a basset hound, on September 1 some four to 
six miles upstream from the campsite. But they hadn't 
seen anyone with him. 

The Carberry Creek area is only a short distance from 
the California border, and it is literally crisscrossed with 
logging roads, honeycombed with abandoned gold mine 
shafts — some of them sunk as long as a hundred years 
ago. Lieutenant Kezar and his men realized that the 
Cowdens might never be found if they had been killed and 
hidden in some mine whose existence had been known 
only to old-timers — now long dead — with the mine's 
entrance grown over with underbrush. 

Kezar did not believe that an entire family could have 
stumbled and fallen into such a mine. 

A few other possibilities, more shocking — if that was 
possible — had to be considered. Could the Cowdens have 
chosen to vanish voluntarily? Or had either Belinda or 

384 



DARK FOREST: DEEP DANGER 

Richard murdered their own family and disappeared? It 
has happened in other cases. People do run away for pri- 
vate reasons: to avoid financial responsibility or some 
personal situation. They crack under pressure, shocking 
everyone who knows them. 

The investigators scrutinized the Cowdens' past thor- 
oughly. They had no more debts than any couple in their 
twenties, and they weren't behind on any payments. More- 
over, Richard Cowden's paycheck was more than adequate 
to meet their monthly bills. Belinda was a good manager — 
as evidenced by the ftill freezer and the garden she kept up. 
Cowden was considered a valuable employee on the job, 
and he hadn't had any beefs with other drivers or loggers. 

As far as the marriage went, it was described as very 
happy by friends and relatives. The handsome couple were 
devoted to each other, probably even more so since the 
birth of Melissa five months before. If there had been any 
breath of scandal about their marriage, it would have been 
well known in a town as small as White City — but there 
was none. 

No, there was no reason in the world for the Cowdens 
to choose to disappear. Lieutenant Kezar was convinced 
that wherever they were, they had been taken against their 
will. 

The searchers abandoned the organized efforts near the 
campsite in the Siskiyous a week or so after Labor Day. 
They had not found one scrap of physical evidence that 
might help find the Cowdens, much less the family them- 
selves. They realized that the couple and their two children 
could be thousands of miles away by this time ... if they 
had left of their own accord. 

385 



ANN RULE 

But no one who knew them believed that theory. Nei- 
ther Richard nor Behnda would put their families through 
such pain — especially since Richard's parents had already 
lost one son, and they were waiting to hear if another son 
had cancer. Richard's brother Wes had started out Labor 
Day weekend with a reason to celebrate. He had just been 
released from the hospital after exploratory surgery on a 
tumor that his doctors feared was malignant. With the 
memory of his oldest brother's death from cancer at the 
age of twenty-five, Wes had been prepared for a similar 
diagnosis. 

But his lump was found to be benign, and he was tre- 
mendously grateful. Within a day, he learned that his 
beloved brother Richard and Richard's family had disap- 
peared. 

The Oregon State Police and the Jackson County Sher- 
iff's Office were flooded now with clues, suggestions, the- 
ories. Some were too ridiculous to consider, but others 
were checked out thoroughly. In the months to come, 
Kezar and his men would interview 150 people, compile a 
file on the Cowdens' disappearance case, and come to 
know the family as well as if they'd known them person- 
ally for fifty years. 

As soon as Wes Cowden recuperated enough from sur- 
gery, he and his father, who had once been a trapper and 
knew the mountains, ravines, trails, and campsites of the 
upper Applegate Valley by heart, began their weeks-long 
search for Richard, Belinda, David, and Melissa. They 
were both eager to find some answers, and afraid of what 
those might be. 

It was probably the worst heartbreak any family could 

386 



DARK FOREST: DEEP DANGER 

go through: not knowing. None of the Cowdens' relatives 
slept well, and their minds kept returning to terrible imag- 
inings about what could have happened to them. They 
tried to protect each other, and many suppressed their own 
feelings so that they wouldn't hurt each other more. 

A $2,000 reward for information was set up. Just 
before hunting season began, another plea for funds went 
out. The grieving friends and relatives of the missing fam- 
ily felt that deer hunters might be in a position to unravel 
the puzzle, which grew more inexplicable with each pass- 
ing day. 

On October 3, Richard Cowden's sister wrote a letter to 
the editor of the Medford Mail Tribune, appealing to hunt- 
ers to be on the alert for "anything that could be connected 
to a man, a woman, a five-year-old child, or a five -month- 
old baby. Even though we try not to let our hopes dwindle 
that they will be found alive, we ask that you will even 
check freshly turned piles of earth. We will truly appreci- 
ate any clue or help that some hunter may find." 

It was a tragic request, proving once again that there is 
nothing worse than not knowing. At the time, eight young 
women were missing in the Northwest; all of them had 
vanished completely in Washington and Oregon, but the 
concept that a whole family could disappear v/as incom- 
prehensible. (The missing women were later determined 
to be victims of serial killer Ted Bundy.) 

Two hundred concerned citizens wrote to Oregon Sen- 
ator Mark Hatfield, asking him to have the FBI actively 
enter the probe. But there was no evidence that the 
Cowdens had been kidnapped or taken across state lines. 
Senator Hatfield and Lieutenant Kezar stressed that every 

387 



ANN RULE 

law enforcement agency asked to assist in the case so far 
had responded with fiill strength — ^but there was so Httle 
for any of them to go on. 

The hunting season came and went, with no trace of the 
Cowdens. Christmas arrived, but no one in their family 
felt like celebrating. Richard and Belinda's house sat dark 
and empty. Snow covered the hills where they had pic- 
nicked, and then the rolling slopes brightened with 
lupines, wild mustard, and wild iris, and a torrent of spring 
rains washed the snow and topsoil away. 



On Saturday, April 12, 1975, two men from Forest Grove, 
Oregon, were taking advantage of the spring weather as 
they made a trip to the Carberry Creek area to do some 
prospecting for gold. They looked for the precious ore in 
the upper Applegate region, six and a half miles upstream 
from the campsite where the Cowdens had disappeared 
seven and a half months earlier. 

Forest Grove is a long way north of Medford, and the 
men were not nearly as aware of the disappearance of the 
Cowdens as were local residents. Their thoughts were only 
of finding gold as they approached a steep, timbered, rocky 
hillside about three hundred feet above the old Sturgis Fork 
campground. But they soon forgot all about striking gold. 

They found first one bone, and then another, and were 
horrified when they saw what appeared to be the skeleton 
of a human being. It was tied to a tree. Animals had scat- 
tered some of the smaller bones over a hundred feet in 
every direction. 



388 



DARK FOREST: DEEP DANGER 

The modem-day prospectors had no idea how long the 
remains had been there, but they noted bits of clothing, 
faded by weather, in the area, too, and were pretty sure 
they weren't looking at the skeleton of a long-dead miner. 
They ran back to their vehicle and called the Jackson 
County Sheriff's Office. 

It was 3:30 p.m. — ^and over seven months since the 
Cowden family had vanished. 

Sheriff Franklin dispatched deputies and notified Lieu- 
tenant Kezar and the Oregon State Police team. The offi- 
cers were fairly certain that they knew what they had — at 
least one member of the Cowden family. From the length 
of the femur bones and the configuration of the pelvis, the 
body would appear to be that of Richard Cowden. 

Kezar knew that it would take extremely careful crimi- 
nal investigation to preserve what evidence was left after 
almost eight months. He requested assistance at once from 
technical experts in Salem and from Dr. William Brady, 
the Oregon State medical examiner. 

The troopers and deputies searched the hillside for the 
rest of the afternoon but had to quit as shadows began to 
fall. They had waited out the winter and the spring; they 
didn't want to risk losing some vital clue because of dark- 
ness. 

At dawn the next morning, they were back. At 9:30, 
they came upon a cave, a cave whose entrance was nearly 
obscured by an outcropping of rock above it. It had obvi- 
ously been almost totally sealed up with rocks and dirt, 
either by nature or a human being. But the fierce Oregon 
winter rains had pelted the barricade, and a small rock- 



389 



ANN RULE 

slide had resulted, letting slices of light into the cave itself. 

The officers looked into the opening, trying to focus 
as their eyes adjusted to the dark. There were bones 
inside, obliquely reflecting the filtered light of the forest. 
Carefiilly, sifting the debris as they worked, they unearthed 
a body inside. It, too, was the skeleton of an adult, this 
skeleton smaller, though, than the one tied to a nearby 
tree, and most likely a female with short, dark brown 
hair. 

They lifted the decomposed form out and shone their 
flashlights into the dim interior of the cave. There were 
other bones. Small bones that would prove to be those of a 
small child, and the tender bones of an infant. 

At last, they were looking at what they were sure was 
the Cowden family, buried away from all the searchers 
until Mother Nature herself revealed at least part of the 
answer to a terrible secret. The lost family had undoubt- 
edly been here, seven miles fi-om their campsite, since the 
previous fall. 

Kezar, Franklin, and their men fanned out over the hill- 
side. They went over every inch of ground, finding more 
clothing and a plastic baby carrier, its gay pastel coloring 
grimly incongruous to its grisly surroundings. 

Everything found — no matter how small — was bagged 
and labeled; the Oregon State Police forensics laboratory 
would analyze all of it. Metal detectors were brought in, 
and the entire area was scanned in an attempt to find the 
murder gun and or bullet casings — ^with no success. For 
days Kezar and his men literally sifted the earth of the 
cave and hillside, but the killer had been meticulous in 
leaving no sign of himself behind. 

390 



DARK FOREST: DEEP DANGER 

The investigators sought a gun — because the bodies of 
the woman and little boy in the cave appeared to have 
been shot. If, for whatever unfathomable reason, Richard 
Cowden had killed his wife and children, and then killed 
himself, the weapon would be there. 

There was no death weapon in the area. If it was there, 
anywhere within the radius that a dying man could throw 
it, Kezar's men would have found it. 

No, someone had taken the family far, far upstream 
from their camp, probably at gunpoint and, once there, 
killed them. The woman and children were stuffed into the 
cave then, and sealed' up like characters in an Edgar Allan 
Poe horror tale. Cowden 's body would have been too large 
to fit into the cave, and the killer or killers had left him 
where he was tied, helpless to protect his family. 

Positive identification of the remains was made by 
comparison of their teeth with dental records. Dr. Brady 
performed the postmortem exams in an attempt to deter- 
mine the specific cause of death. He confirmed that 
Belinda and David had succumbed to .22-caliber bullet 
wounds — Brady found spent slugs in their bodies — and 
tiny Melissa had perished from severe head wounds. But it 
was impossible to determine cause of death for Richard 
Cowden. He could have been shot, too, with a bullet pierc- 
ing soft tissue that had disintegrated with the passage of 
time, but Dr. Brady could not be sure. 

Without body tissue, lethal methods like strangulation 
and stabbing are often impossible to establish so long after 
death. Sometimes, .22-caliber bullets do little damage — 
unless they hit bones, which change their path within the 
body. Then, they can injure vital organs fatally. 

391 



ANN RULE 

They knew the weapon was a .22 — rifle or handgun — 
but they weren't able to do ballistics comparisons because 
they didn't have the murder gun. 

Lieutenant Kezar made a somewhat cryptic statement 
to the press, saying he believed the killer probably was a 
person who either lived in the area or had once lived in the 
area, because the bodies had been stashed in such a hid- 
den, murky cave, a cave only a local person would be 
likely to know about. 

The $2,000 reward for information leading to the find- 
ing of the Cowden family was paid to the two gold pros- 
pectors who had found Richard Cowden's remains. 
Another reward, totaling $1,697, remained for information 
leading to the arrest and conviction of the killer. 

It seemed that Droopy, the family pet, might be the only 
living creature — beyond the killer himself — who knew 
what had happened. Campers had seen the basset four to six 
miles upstream on the creek, very close to where the bodies 
were eventually discovered. Questioned again, they shook 
their heads helplessly That's all they had seen — a dog. 

Droopy had probably made his way back to the town of 
Copper, looking for his family. 

One Copper resident recalled that he had talked to a 
young family on September 1 . He looked at the Cowden 
family's photo and shook his head. It wasn't the missing 
family he'd seen; they were tourists who said they were 
from the Los Angeles area. 

'T remember they said, 'We're camping right across fi*om 
you,' which would have meant the old campgrounds." 

The witness said that the couple were in their late twen- 



392 



DARK FOREST: DEEP DANGER 

ties or early thirties, and very friendly. The man had said 
he was in the computer field — ^possibly as a programmer 
in Los Angeles. He'd had a beard. 

The California couple were traveling with children. 
"They had three children," the other camper said. "They 
all had biblical names. I can't tell you just what they were, 
but they were old-fashioned, from the Bible — maybe 
Joshua or Jason, Sarah. I can't recall. One of the kids was 
just a baby in one of those backpack things." 

The investigative team wanted mightily to talk to that 
family. It was possible that they had seen someone in the 
area on the fatal September 1, but the team's requests for 
contact, published in Southern California papers, drew no 
response at first. The campers weren't suspects, but they 
might have seen someone who was. 

Eventually, the investigators did locate the California 
tourists. Yes, they had arrived at the campgrounds about 
five o'clock on the night of September 1. The Cowdens 
were believed to have been abducted about midmoming 
that day, so the Calif omians wouldn't have seen them. 

"Two men and a woman pulled up in a pickup truck, 
though," the father of three recalled. "They acted like they 
were waiting for us to leave, and, ft-ankly, they made us 
nervous — so we moved on." 

A man from Grants Pass contacted the state police after 
he heard that the Cowdens' bodies had been found. He 
was puzzled. 

"I was helping in the search last September," he said, 
"and I searched that cave. There were no bodies in it." 

Kezar figured they were probably talking about two dif- 



393 



ANN RULE 

ferent caves. "I asked him to take us to the cave he meant, 
to make sure we were talking about the same thing — and 
he did." 

And it was the cave that had become a crypt. Was it 
possible the killer had begun to worry that someone would 
find the bodies, and he returned to where he'd originally 
left them, and moved them into the cave? 

It wasn't impossible. Murderers had moved bodies 
before for that reason. 

For every answer, it seemed, there were more questions. 



In the meantime. Lieutenant Kezar and Lieutenant Win- 
terfeld. Sergeant Wilden, and trooper Erickson continued 
to wade through mountains of tips, clues, and specula- 
tions. 

They checked out known sex offenders and psychiatric 
patients recently released from the Oregon State Hospital 
in Salem, and followed up on both known and anonymous 
informants' messages. It seemed as if every small town in 
southern Oregon had a few "grotesques," as novelist Sher- 
wood Anderson described residents of villages who didn't 
fit in. Most weren't dangerous; they just marched to differ- 
ent drums. 

One of the routine reports from the Oregon State Board 
of Parole turned out to be anything but routine. They noti- 
fied the state police team that they might have a possible 
suspect for them, one who certainly seemed capable of 
such a brutal crime. 

Dwain Lee Little, twenty-five, had been paroled from 
the Oregon State Penitentiary on May 24, 1974, less than 

394 



DARK FOREST: DEEP DANGER 

four months before the Cowdens vanished. Little was 
somewhat of a felon celebrity as, at sixteen, he had been 
the youngest prisoner ever received into the prison system. 

Yellowed newspaper photos published in the midsixties 
showed Dwain Lee as he looked at the time. He had a 
sweet baby face then, and a sweeping pompadour with one 
unruly cowlick that brushed the middle of his forehead. 
He was five feet, eight inches and weighed only 150 
pounds. Those who kept up with crime had found it was 
ahnost impossible to picture Dwain Lee carrying out the 
act for which he was convicted: first-degree-murder. 

The Little family was living in Lane County, Oregon, in 
November of 1 964, on rural property. Orla Fay Phipps was 
sixteen, a pretty neighbor girl who lived on nearby acre- 
age. Dwain Lee might have had a crush on her, but thus 
far he hadn't indicated it to his family or mentioned it to 
any of his fiiends. He was also said to have had a thirteen- 
year-old girlfriend. 

Dwain was a poor student who had a serious reading 
problem, failing grades, and an IQ between 89 and 94. He 
was not developmentally disabled, but he was at the lower 
end of normal. Even so, he was captain of the eighth- 
grade football team and president of his class. 

He could be charming and polite. He said "sir" and 
"ma'am." He was a pretty good-looking kid who was 
popular with the girls at the Springfield Junior Academy 
near Eugene. He made a positive first impression, and 
teachers tried to help him. As far as anyone knew, he 
didn't know Orla Fay Phipps very well at all. 

Dwain Lee spent a lot of time in an orchard near his 
home. He was a loner who usually went there with his 

395 



ANN RULE 

dog. He called this orchard his "second home," and he 
explored animal trails, hunted, and watched birds. He did 
hang out in the orchard sometimes with an older cousin 
whom he idolized, and the two of them had a trap line 
together. 

"Dwain Lee would rather have had a quick-draw pis- 
tol," his cousin said, "than anything in the world." 

The teenager had a few male friendships, but he termi- 
nated those he did have abruptly. He and Orla Fay's 
brother were close for a while, but Dwain walked away 
from that relationship. 

Orla Fay Phipps was a well-developed and very pretty 
blonde. She often wore shorts — which Dwain 's sister, 
Vivian,* thought were too provocative — when she rode 
past the Littles' property. 

"Dwain always went to his room when she showed up," 
his sister said. 

On November 2, 1964, Orla Fay left to ride her horse, 
and her family became concerned when she didn't return 
home, although her horse did. 

Orla Fay couldn't come home. She had been brutally 
murdered, although it was clear she had put up a tremen- 
dous fight to live. She had been struck on the head with a 
blunt object, sustaining skull fractures, and then her throat 
had been slashed and stabbed several times with a very 
sharp knife. 

Autopsy results proved that Orla Fay had been raped 
after death. 

At the time she died, Dwain Lee was only fifteen, but 
both physical and circumstantial evidence indicated that it 
was he who killed Orla Fay. 

396 



DARK FOREST: DEEP DANGER 

The legal question after his arrest for first-degree mur- 
der was whether he should be tried as an adult or as a juve- 
nile? After his arrest, he was placed first at the Skipworth 
Home — a juvenile detention facility — as psychiatrists and 
psychologists prepared to evaluate his mental status and 
look at his background. 

The elder Littles distrusted mental health professionals, 
feeling that they had been betrayed by them in the past, 
and Dwain shared their apprehension. His attorney and 
Juvenile caseworkers asked Dwain to get to know the doc- 
tors scheduled to evaluate him before he made his judg- 
ments. 

The doctors looked first at the Little family's back- 
ground and interpersonal dynamics. 

And it proved to be a checkered background for a boy 
of fifteen. His entire life had been one trauma after an- 
other. The Little family was far from ordinary. 

When Dwain was seven, he was accidentally struck in 
the head with a baseball bat, and it left a depression in his 
skull that remained visible. He was hospitalized for a few 
days and had to wear a protective helmet for five months. 
For several years after that, he was forbidden to participate 
in contact sports. He also had headaches, and there was 
some question that his injury had caused his extreme dif- 
ficulty in spelling and writing. 

In an eftbrt to help him learn, his parents had placed 
him in a Seventh Day Adventist school. Sometime later, 
his mother and sister were baptized into that religion. 
Dwain, however, often gave the impression that he was the 
most religious member of his family, attending church 
services and reading his Bible. 

397 



ANN RULE 

The elder Littles — Stone* and Pearl* — were a curious 
pair. From the time Dwain was born in 1948, their lives 
were marked by paranoia, going way over the edge of 
people who "saw a glass half empty." 

Dwain 's father alleged that he had been threatened by a 
man named Si Hopkins,* and Hopkins intended to kill his 
whole family. Stone's brother, Jackson,* had told him that 
Pearl was cheating on him with Hopkins, and that Hopkins 
would happily kill him if he could have Pearl. 

Despite frail health. Pearl was a good-looking woman 
and so was her daughter, Vivian. While Si Hopkins had 
lusted after Pearl, Stone's brother, Jackson, was besotted 
with Vivian — his stepniece. The objects of their lust 
had found both of them "coarse, vulgar, and repulsive" 
and had never wanted anything to do with them. 

Afraid of both Si Hopkins and Jackson, the Littles had 
lived in virtual hiding. The children were taught to shoot a 
gun by the time they were five or six. A loaded gun was 
kept in the house at all times, they hauled water in because 
they were afraid their water supply might be poisoned, the 
children were never allowed very far from the house unac- 
companied, and they occasionally lived for as much as a 
year under assumed names. 

Shortly after Dwain was born. Pearl Lee Little was 
charged with arson, accused of burning down a friend's 
house. She was jailed temporarily, but the charges were 
later dropped. Two years later, the Littles' own house 
burned down and they lost everything. Apparently, there 
were no arson investigators who correlated this to the ear- 
lier fire. 

In 1956, old records indicate, Stone Little was shot by a 

398 



DARK FOREST: DEEP DANGER 

foster child, and he lost one testicle, part of his penis, and 
partial use of his right leg. Between that time and 1961, the 
Littles reported that nine of their cows were poisoned, other 
cows were shot, and two of their dogs were poisoned. 
Someone — apparently the mysterious Si Hopkins — had 
deliberately felled a tree on Dwain's father, cripplmg him 
for life, and that was followed by yet another mysterious 
fire that destroyed $32,000 worth of their logging equip- 
ment. 

Stone Little cried as he described his misfortunes to a 
Lane County social worker, and explained why it was no 
wonder that his family had lived in fear for years. 

Stone was committed to Eastern State Hospital in 
Washington State in 1961 after he shot his brother, Jack- 
son, fatally. He was diagnosed as criminally insane with 
"paranoid reaction, paranoid state." 

Some versions of the Little family history say that it 
was Jackson who shot Stone in his genitals, and not a 
"foster child" at all. 

Whether all of this bizarre series of events actually oc- 
curred, state workers didn't know. They wrote, "Regard- 
less of the source, it has been experienced by. all of this 
family as real." 

Jackson Little was shot to death, and Stone had been 
committed, and for a spate of time there was relative peace 
in the family. But two years later, Stone Little escaped 
from Eastern State Hospital, gathered his family together, 
and fled to Tennessee. He was arrested and jailed there, 
awaiting extradition to Washington State, but nothing 
came of that and he was freed! 

Dwain Lee was glad; he hated the time he spent in 

399 



ANN RULE 

Medical Lake, Washington. Being the son of a patient of 
the mental hospital brought a stigma with it, and he was 
taunted by schoolmates. He didn't like Tennessee much, 
either. But most of all, he said he had missed his father. 

The Little family had moved to Oregon to start over in 
1964. 

Somewhat ironically, a social worker assessing the 
family that November wrote with vast understatement: 
"The family reports that the past year in Oregon has been 
the most secure, happiest year of their lives. Since being 
shot and having a tree fall on him, Mr. Little has been 
handicapped with a lame leg and has experienced consid- 
erable recurrent pain but rarely complains and has man- 
aged to hold a steady job." 

Dwain Lee's mother. Pearl, had her health problems, too. 
She told a court worker that, before she married Stone in 
1 946, she had suffered from childhood arthritis which de- 
veloped into Legg-Calve-Perthes syndrome in her hip. She 
was hospitalized when she was ten and was placed in a body 
cast and traction for nine months. When she was released, 
she had to wear a brace from her armpits to one foot, to 
keep her affected leg stiff. This went on for several years. 

When Pearl became pregnant with her daughter, Viv- 
ian, she had to wear a brace again, and recalled that she 
was paralyzed for some time after Vivian's birth. When 
she was expecting Dwain, she had had a kidney infection. 
Throughout her life, she'd undergone several surgeries for 
"female problems" and "tumors" and was on crutches 
when Dwain Lee was arrested. 

According to her family, Pearl Little never complained 
either. 

400 



DARK FOREST: DEEP DANGER 

Pearl grew up on a farm in Arkansas and had only a 
third-grade education, although she could read quite well. 
She was self-educated and "small, friendly, outgoing," 
according to her interviewer. 

Pearl told social workers that her family "is my whole 
life. All the threats and tragedies we've suffered have just 
brought us closer together than families usually are." 

Vivian was not Stone's child, but he had accepted her, 
and they didn't tell her about her real parentage until she 
was sixteen. 

Pearl admitted that she had always felt closer to Dwain 
than to "Vivi," probably because her daughter was rebel- 
lious. According to Vivian, Dwain always did what their 
parents said. 

Pearl outright spoiled and babied Dwain, and people 
said he was tied to her by her apron strings. She gave him 
a baby bottle until he was four years old. He recalled car- 
rying it in his hip pocket until he got disgusted with it and 
threw it away. Pearl never allowed Dwain to be away from 
her for any length of time, and had an anxiety attack when 
they were once separated for a whole week. The Littles 
never left their children with babysitters. 

Dwain, "the good child," obviously hadn't done well 
with all the "smother love" and the constant threat that 
some sort of disaster might be just around the corner. 
Whatever feelings of resentment and inappropriate 
thoughts he might have held were hidden deep within him 
until that day in November when he found himself alone 
with Orla Fay. 

With Dwain under arrest for first-degree murder and 
locked away in detention, his mother was beside herself 

401 



ANN RULE 

with worry. She visited him whenever she was allowed to, 
and correction workers noted that not only did he kiss her 
hello and good-bye, they exchanged kisses frequently all 
during their visits. 

Their physical connection didn't seem normal; Pearl 
asked her son, who was now sixteen, to sit on her lap, and 
she held his hand, ruffled his hair, and even caressed his 
leg. Observers saw that this was sexually arousing for him, 
which embarrassed him — especially when the other boys 
in the unit teased him about it. 

(This inappropriate behavior between mother and son 
was also noted in psychiatric studies of Gary Ridgway, the 
Green River serial killer, who confessed to more than four 
dozen murders of young women.) 

Dwain Lee seemed to see himself as an extension of his 
parents; he told them everything he thought and felt, even 
to the point that he shared sexual jokes with his mother. 

But he told psychologists that he was closer to his 
father than his mother. While his affect was almost always 
flat and without empathy for other people's feelings, he 
cried when his father had to leave Lane County to find 
work. 

His reactions to other situations were strange. When he 
had entered detention, having been charged with murder 
a few hours earlier, he was smiling and friendly, seem- 
ingly oblivious to what would have shocked most teenag- 
ers. A few days later, a detective came to the detention 
facility to interrogate Dwain about Orla Fay's murder. He 
showed Dwain a color photo of the nude dead girl, 
marred by blood and terrible wounds, and said, "You did 
that! Look what you did!" 

402 



DARK FOREST: DEEP DANGER 

The detective was shouting and could be heard at the 
far end of the corridor. He next showed Dwain a knife that 
was identical to one the teenager owned, but Dwain calmly 
denied any connection to the homicide. 

When the investigator left the interview room, Dwain 
shook hands with him and thanked him. He was com- 
pletely unruffled and said the detective was only doing 
his job. 

And when he was told that his parents and grandpar- 
ents were selling almost everything they owned to pay 
for his defense, he appeared to have no emotional 
response. He simply changed the subject and didn't seem 
to understand that this was a crisis for his closest family 
members. 

He seemed more an automaton or a robot than a human 
being— unfailingly polite and saying whatever he thought 
would please people, but without any feeling at all. 

He told his parents the kinds of things that most teen- 
age boys would share with each other — but he had no 
male friends. There was one thing, however, that Dwain 
Lee Little didn't tell either parent. He would not confess to 
killing Orla Fay Phipps. 

Stone Little told Dwain that if he was guilty of killing 
Orla Fay, he should reveal it to him, and Stone would see 
that he got away and would never be found. 

Pearl Little announced that although she might have 
some questions about Dwain Lee's innocence in the mur- 
der of Orla Fay Phipps, she wouldn't believe any evidence 
against him as long as he said he wasn't guilty. She 
believed in her "perfect boy." 

Pearl wore blinders a lot, and she clearly did not like 

403 



ANN RULE 

conflict of any kind, wanting only to please and win the 
approval of others. 

"When Stone and I argue, we always try to make up 
before bed," she said. "Stone, he kind of withdraws into 
himself when there's a problem and cuts himself off from 
people. I just feel hurt real easy and I want to make up 
quick." 

While he was in detention, Dwain worked hard to im- 
press the adults in charge. Like his mother, he seemed to 
thrive on approval and shrink from criticism. He would 
take on jobs that other inmates wouldn't do, and he was a 
tattletale, reporting any misbehavior among the other 
boys. Some supervisors found him "almost self-righteous" 
at times, but most adults who met him viewed Dwain as an 
"innocent child" caught up in something he didn't under- 
stand. This was especially true of women, who tended to 
dote on the handsome teenager. 

Dwain had his supporters who vowed he was inno- 
cent — that he couldn't do such a thing as had happened to 
Orla Fay. His girlfriend, now fourteen, wrote to him regu- 
larly and tried to get authorities to let her visit him. Her 
mother liked Dwain, too, and their family had put up 
$1,500 to help pay for his attorney. 



As part of his pretrial evaluation, Dwain was interviewed 
after being injected with sodium pentothal (truth serum). 
His attorney agreed to that if no one was present with 
Dwain except the psychiatrist and one other physician. 
Results would be given to both the district attorney and 
the Defense, and to the judge. 

404 



DARK FOREST: DEEP DANGER 

Dr. George Saslow of the University of Oregon Medi- 
cal School was given a list of questions on December 28, 
1 964, to try to find answers. 



Who was Dwain Lee Little? 

LA description of Dwain Lee's personality. 

2. Is the nature of his personality such that it would 
permit the commission of this kind of crime? 

3. Would a person with his kind of personality be more 
likely to commit this kind of crime than a person 
with a different mind or personality? 

4. How disturbed is Dwain at this time? 

5. Are treatment facilities available in Oregon today 

[1964] adequate for the restoration to community 
life within five years of persons found to have 
committed a crime such as charged in this case? 

6. How long would a course of treatment in an 
institution usually require most people such as this 
to [be safe to release into] the community? 

7. Would people who have committed crimes such as 
this usually require lifetime supervision? 

8. How likely is a person to commit such a crime again 
if he does not receive treatment? 



In retrospect, it was an impossible task. Who could 
possibly know what Dwain Lee Little might be capable of, 
or, indeed, if he was truly insane under the M'Naughton 
Rule? 

In the end, a grand jury handed down an indictment 

405 



ANN RULE 

charging Dwain as an adult. The jury at his trial handed 
down a verdict of guilty of first-degree murder, and he was 
sentenced to life in prison. 

On February 11,1 966, Dwain Lee Little became the 
youngest prisoner ever to enter the Oregon State Peniten- 
tiary in Salem. 

He made headlines for a while, and then most of the 
Oregon public forgot about him, reassured by the "life" 
sentence. 

Dwain was first assigned to the prison's garment fac- 
tory, where he was under very close supervision by the 
staff and was also watched over by older inmates. Appar- 
ently, there were enough men who were truly concerned 
about the safety of a young and handsome inmate that he 
was not sexually exploited by predatory convicts. He 
attended group-therapy sessions and appeared to be bene- 
fiting from them. 

After his first year in prison, advisers in the prison con- 
vinced him to go to school. He continued attending classes 
in the Upward Bound program until 1968. 

"The reports of his activities and his attempts to help 
himself were excellent," one unit manager wrote. 

In 1972, he worked as a clerk in the Group Living cap- 
tain's office, and joined the "Lifers' Club." He was more 
sure of himself and relaxed, and corrections officers felt 
"his self-image was improving greatly." 

Now he was permitted to go on "outside trips" with the 
Lifers' Club. "I have gone on trips with him," a prison 
staff member noted, "specifically to observe his relation- 
ship with women. He treated all persons with respect and 
understanding. 

406 



DARK FOREST: DEEP DANGER 

"Little has learned to live with his remembrance of the 
antisocial behavior of his parents, of the rejection by his 
peers and others in the areas where he resided. I've 
watched him change from a somewhat cocky and bewil- 
dered young man into still a young man — but one who has 
a high level of social awareness and of his responsibility 
toward maintaining his place in society. I am certain of his 
remorse for the offense that he committed and the girl he 
killed. I would welcome him as a next-door neighbor." 

Many people who had met Dwain Lee in the eight 
years he spent in prison felt he was a prime example of a 
young man who would never return to captivity; instead, 
they expected him to become a good citizen. He had been 
on scores of supervised trips outside the walls and never 
caused any trouble. 

They recommended him for work release. He was trans- 
ferred to the Portland Men's Center on February 6, 1974, 
and began work at a concrete products plant, where he 
made $2.50 an hour and received glowing evaluations. 

He was allowed four passes to Portland homes, all of 
them sponsored by his mother and his sister. And on May 
24, 1974, Dwain was released on parole. He was, of 
course, forbidden to carry any deadly weapon, and would 
not be allowed to enter Lane County — where he had killed 
Orla Fay Phipps — or adjoining Benton County. 

By the fall of 1 974, Stone and Pearl had moved to Jack- 
son County, and Dwain was living in Jacksonville. He was 
doing well as a warehouseman for a steel company in 
Medford, earning $4.75 an hour and reporting regularly to 
his parole officer. He spent a lot of his free time on the 
Applegate River, swimming and visiting friends. Although 

407 



ANN RULE 

his parole officer wasn't happy about some of those 
friends and counseled him continually about the trouble 
they might bring him, Dwain didn't seem to listen. 

"Little's only apparent problem at this time," the PO 
wrote on September 3, 1974, "appears to be that he is not 
very discerning of people around him and is too anxious 
to accommodate others' needs and wants above his own." 

As he wrote that, it was Tuesday, the day after Labor 
Day, and the Cowden family had been missing approxi- 
mately forty-eight hours. 

And Dwain 's parents lived in the area where they'd dis- 
appeared. 

When the Oregon State Police investigators and the 
Jackson County sheriff's detectives learned that Dwain 
Little had been in the Copper area at approximately the 
same time the Cowdens had vanished, they located him at 
his parents' home and questioned him. He denied any 
knowledge of the Cowden family, said he didn't know 
them, had never seen them, and had no idea what might 
have happened to them. 

Dwain Little was only one of scores of people they 
talked to. His prison and work release record were spot- 
less, and they could find nothing substantive that might 
link him to the crimes. 

Dwain Lee and his girlfriend, Roxanne Feeney,* were 
living with his parents during the summer of 1974. Rox- 
anne had a secret that she chose not to tell anyone. She had 
seen Dwain with a .22-caliber gun and knew he wasn't sup- 
posed to have access to firearms. However, after Christmas, 
she discovered that Dwain was cheating on her with 
another woman, and she told police that she had personally 

408 



DARK FOREST: DEEP DANGER 

observed him with the .22 pistol and seen him load it, and 
that they had used it for target shooting together. 

Dwain's parole was suspended on January 12, 1975, 
and revoked completely in May. He had been out of prison 
for one year — less one day — when he went back into the 
Oregon State Pen on May 23, 1975. 

Once more, he set about convincing the authorities that 
he had changed. And that was one of his talents — the "lac- 
quer coating" that one psychiatrist had described, smooth 
and impenetrable. He got his old job as a clerk back, and, 
again, he was a model prisoner. 

Dwain Lee was married now, and he had a wife, Linda,* 
waiting for him on the outside. He first tried to get paroled 
to California, but that state refused responsibility for him, 
and he also considered Idaha — but he finally submitted a 
request to be paroled to his wife's parents' home near Hills- 
boro, Oregon. He had a job waiting for him with a potato- 
chip company; he never had trouble finding work. 

It was surprising how many corrections officers backed 
Dwain's parole. He had made a positive impression on 
them, and they failed to see who was behind the mask he 
presented to the world. He'd always been clever at hiding 
his emotions, and after more than a decade in prison, he 
had become extremely con- wise. 

Oregon State Prison Warden Hoyt Cupp was not among 
those who believed that Dwain Little was no longer a dan- 
ger to the community, nor were many of the psychiatrists 
who had examined him over the years. However, they had 
not considered him psychotic — except perhaps when cir- 
cumstances made him explode. 

"A person who is so unknown to himself emotionally," 

409 



ANN RULE 

Dr. Saslow wrote, "generally gives others no signals that 
he is about to lose emotional control, and he may lose it 
quickly." 

One psychiatrist thought that the only chance of heal- 
ing whatever was wrong with Dwain Little would be for a 
mental health therapist to spend "quantities of undemand- 
ing love for the long time that it would take to convince 
him that it was not a trap . . . Without therapy, the outlook 
is dark." 

Most of the others feared there was no treatment that 
would work — inside prison walls or out. He seemingly 
had no conscience or empathy, and was far more likely to 
kill again than were most prisoners who had gone to jail 
for murder. 

He was paroled for the second time on April 26, 1977. 
He now had more "special conditions" attached to his 
parole. He had to become involved in a mental health 
treatment program (at the discretion of his parole offi- 
cer), he could not associate with known felons, he could 
not enter Lane or Jackson counties without his PO's per- 
mission, and he would maintain an independent living 
situation. 

He had had the same parole officer for years, and the 
man never lost faith in him. Although Dwain would be liv- 
ing and working hundreds of miles north of Jackson 
County, his parole officer would remain in charge of his 
case. 

For over three years, Dwain Little evaded the eye of the 
law. 



410 



DARK FOREST: DEEP DANGER 

In the Tigard-Beaverton-Lake Oswego area south of Port- 
land, on the morning of Monday, June 2, 1980, Margie 
Hunter,* twenty -three, got up early to look for a job. She 
had been employed at a company named Metalcraft but 
was temporarily laid off. She also needed to pick up a 
check for two weeks' pay at Metalcraft's employment divi- 
sion. 

Because the dark clouds overhead looked more like 
March than June, Margie drove her twelve-year-old white 
Karmann Ghia, even though she'd been having some trou- 
ble with it. Her life was in a state of flux; she needed to 
find a smaller apartment, and she suspected that she might 
be pregnant. If she was, she felt she couldn't be more than 
a month along. She was happy about the pregnancy, al- 
though surprised. 

Afl;er she finished her errands, Margie visited a girl- 
friend, leaving at about three p.m. She passed through 
Tigard and had made it onto Old Highway 99 when her 
car broke down. The gas pedal had broken off. Discour- 
aged, she pulled over to the side of the road, turned on her 
flashing lights because it was almost as dark as dusk with 
the threatening storm, and got out to walk to a phone 
booth. 

She was having a really bad day, and then the sky 
opened up and hail bounced on the road and on her. A 
hitchhiker ran up behind her and offered her a jacket he 
had in his orange backpack. She accepted it thankfully. 
He was a little taller than she was, and he looked like a 
lot of hitchhikers: brown curly hair, mustache, beard, and 
glasses. 

She wasn't afraid of him. 

411 



ANN RULE 

The pair bent their heads and started trotting toward 
shelter as the hail continued to pelt them. 

At that point, another Good Samaritan came along. The 
driver of a blue Honda Civic stopped and waved at them to 
get in. They didn't hesitate, and still Margie felt safe, more 
so when she settled in the backseat and realized she recog- 
nized the driver. She didn't actually know him or even his 
name, but he had worked at Metalcraft, too, on the day 
shift as she did. That had been during the fall months of 
1979. He was a "grinder." 

She asked him to drop her off at the next phone booth 
they came to, and he nodded. She noticed that his car was 
only a year or so old, but it was dirty and filled with trash: 
fast-food containers, old newspapers, cigarette butts. 

They soon came to a phone booth by a Catholic school, 
and Margie got out. The driver said he would take the 
hitchhiker on the few miles to King City, his destination. 

Margie called her mother, who wasn't home, and a 
male friend who didn't answer, either. She was out of 
change, so she walked a little farther to a gas station, got 
change, and tried calling her mom and more friends. 
Nobody was home. She gave up, crossed the highway, and 
started walking back toward her car. Even if it wouldn't 
start, she wasn't that far from her apartment. 

The hail had stopped, but it was raining hard when she 
saw the blue Honda approaching from the south. The 
hitchhiker was no longer in the car, and the driver pulled 
over in front of her and offered her a ride again. 

She'd seen him at Metalcraft, and he'd let her out read- 
ily at the phone booth twenty minutes earlier. He seemed 



412 



DARK FOREST: DEEP DANGER 

safe. She got in, telling him she hadn't been able to reach 
anyone to pick her up. 

He didn't talk much, but he told her he'd give her a ride 
home. 

"He asked me where I lived," Margie recalled. "And I 
told him. I told him where to turn into my driveway, but he 
went right past it. As soon as he went past it, he said, 
'Oh — well, I'll turn around and come back.' But he never 
did, and I kept telling him to turn off on streets, so he 
could go back, but I thought he was just going around the 
whole street to take me back. And he never said any words 
after that." 

Margie realized that she didn't know him at all. He was 
a stranger, and he had no intention of taking her home. 

"Then he asked me if I was smart," Margie continued. 
"And I said I tried to be. Then he pulled out this switch- 
blade, and he said, 'Then you'll do what I want you to do.'" 

She thought the knife was a switchblade; it was black 
and shiny and about eight inches long. It had been right 
there underneath his seat. 

Margie told him she was pregnant, and begged him not 
to hurt her. 

"Well, then you think about your baby," he sneered, "and 
you'll do as I tell you to." 

They were heading away from her apartment now — 
toward Tigard and Tualatin, and onto an overpass over the 
1-5 freeway toward Lake Oswego, and then back again 
onto the freeway. The driver demanded that Margie fellate 
him, and she complied. She wanted to live, and she would 
do what she had to do. 



413 



ANN RULE 

He asked if she could "stomach if if he ejaculated into 
her mouth, and she said no, and he said she didn't have to. 

That was odd, because he had been so mean before. 

Now she felt the car turn again, and she saw that they 
were about to head northeast on Highway 205 toward Or- 
egon City. She asked him where they were going, and he 
told her he was looking for a place where he could take 
her off the side of the road where no one could see them. 
He gave her strict instructions: she was to get out of the 
car on the driver's side and hold his hand as if they were a 
couple. 

They had barely left the off-ramp on a winding road 
with sharp turns when he pulled over. She followed his in- 
structions, noting that he had hidden the long knife under 
his sweater. He pulled her up the hill into a grove of trees. 

She was trying to remember everything about him so 
she could tell the police later. He was medium height, 
chubby, clean-shaven, and wore blue jeans, the gray pull- 
over sweater, and black work boots. 

Her memory was as clear as ice. She thought of every- 
thing she could, to get through the sexual attack that began 
too far above the freeway for anyone in the cars below to 
see. He made her take off her brown turtleneck T-shirt, her 
orange sweater, blue jeans, and blue high-heeled sandals, 
and then her bra and panties. She wished devoutly that she 
had worn her Nikes — she would be able to run so much 
better if she got the chance. 

Her captor wanted romance, and he insisted she French- 
kiss him and respond to him. But she was terrified and 
filled with revulsion, and she couldn't respond. He was 
unable to enter her because her vagina was absolutely dry. 

414 



DARK FOREST: DEEP DANGER 

He asked her to perform oral sodomy on him again, and 
she obeyed. 

When nothing worked, he masturbated to ejaculation. 

Margie feU a glimmer of hope when he told her to get 
dressed. He was going to let her go! 

She bent over to put her shoes on, and he held out his 
hand to help her up. She grasped it, and suddenly he was 
behind her, holding her throat in an arm lock. Then his 
hands were grasping both sides of her neck, and she saw 
black clouds descending on her. 

Margie passed out. She didn't remember anything until 
she came to, feeling as if she were suffocating in the dark. 
She first thought she was dreaming. But, finally, she real- 
ized that her sweater was wrapped around her head. She 
tried to pull it off with her right hand, but she couldn't feel 
her right hand at all. She used her left hand, although it felt 
terribly weak. 

"It took five minutes for me to get my sweater down 
from over my head," Margie said. "And then I tried sitting 
up, but I was too weak." 

At that point, she saw her right hand and realized it was 
slashed, her wrist cut almost halfway through. 

The man who had hurt her was gone, but he had pulled 
her into a blackberry thicket, virtually hiding her. 

Margie knew she had to get help before she bled to 
death. She tried to move her legs and discovered she could 
not feel her left leg. She took off her shoes. "I knew I had 
to walk out of there, and I tried to stand, but I couldn't," 
she said. 

She couldn't use her right hand, and she couldn't feel 
her left leg — but she began to crawl out of the trees and 

415 



ANN RULE 

brambles that hid her. Because of her injured right hand, 
she scuttled on her shoulder on that side in a crablike 
movement. She made it to the top of the grassy bank, and 
when she couldn't crawl anymore, she rolled. 

"I kept that up until I could get where the grass was cut 
down and people could see me. And I kept waving to 
them, and about fifteen or twenty cars went by before 
someone finally stopped," Margie said. "By then I couldn't 
wave anymore; I was just laying [sic] on the ground. I 
couldn't move anymore." 

The Tualatin Valley Fire Department responded to the 
911 call, and EMTs found Margie barely conscious and 
bleeding profusely. She was rushed to Meridian Park Hos- 
pital in Tualatin, where she was admitted in critical condi- 
tion. Oregon State Trooper Les Frank went directly to the 
hospital. Dr. Michael McCleskey told him that the victim 
had bruises and swelling in her neck, a stab wound at the 
base of her skull on the rear right side, deep lacerations — 
including tendons and nerves — in her right wrist, and 
deep cuts to the nerves and tendons of her left ankle. 

When she arrived, she had virtually no blood-pressure 
readings and had lost one-third to one-half of the blood in 
her body. She would need surgery to get blood to her right 
hand and her left leg, and there would be nerve damage to 
repair later. For the moment, they had to stabilize her con- 
dition before they could operate. 

Amazingly, she was now conscious and quite lucid, and 
Trooper Frank could interview her. A Clackamas County 
deputy — Robert W. Smith — happened to pass by where 
she had waited for an ambulance, and had spoken briefly 
to her. Margie wanted to be sure that the police knew who 

416 



DARK FOREST: DEEP DANGER 

had raped, stabbed, and strangled her. She had gasped out 
details to Smith, too. 

She told Frank that her attacker was a short, heavy 
white male with close-cut dark brown hair. He was in his 
thirties and driving a new-model two-door blue Honda 
Civic. 

The best news of all for the Oregon State investigator 
was Margie Hunter's absolute belief that her rapist had 
worked at Metalcraft, where she worked. She was positive. 

Dwain Lee Little had made a huge mistake when he 
chose Margie Hunter as a victim. She said they had even 
talked about working there. He could have simply taken 
her home, but he must have planned to kill her all along, 
knowing that she could identify him. 

One thing Margie commented on was that her captor 
seemed to have "no feelings at all." He didn't care about 
her baby, her life, about anything but what he wanted. 
Trying to get through to him was like pleading with a 
robot. 

Dr. McCleskey categorized Margie's wounds as "devas- 
tating." They had to get blood to her wrist and her ankle. 
Along with Drs. Tongue and Bamhouse, the surgeons iso- 
lated the severed tendons of both extremities, along with 
the damaged nerves. Her injuries were full of dirt and 
grass, and these were all painstakingly irrigated until they 
were clean; antibiotics were given to prevent infection if 
possible. 

After resection of all the tendons of her wrist, and their 
grateftil discovery that her radial artery was intact, the 
doctors felt the repair was "most satisfactory," and they 
wrapped her wrist in a short arm cast. 

417 



ANN RULE 

Next, they turned to Margie's ankle. There they found 
only two severed tendons, including the Achilles tendon — 
which was probably what had prevented her from standing 
or walking when she came back to consciousness in the 
bushes. 

The surgeons put a cast on Margie's leg and moved on 
to the two-inch-deep neck wound. Fortunately, it wasn't as 
dangerous as the deeper slashes in her arm and leg. It was 
closed with sutures. 

It took eight hours of surgery to perform the first proce- 
dures on Margie Hunter's knife wounds. She came through 
the operations well, and was upgraded from "critical" to 
"serious" condition. 

Margie's pregnancy was intact; indeed, when she was 
well enough to have a pelvic exam, she learned that she 
was really twelve weeks pregnant — almost three months. 
Whether she would be able to maintain her pregnancy was 
still iffy. She had been choked, beaten, and cut to the bone, 
and had lost so much blood. And there was the shock fac- 
tor to be considered, too. 

Only time would tell. 



While Margie Hunter was in surgery, law enforcement 
officers in the Tigard-Tualatin area looked for a new blue 
Honda, and detectives planned to contact Metalcraft in the 
morning to see if they could find the names of former em- 
ployees who had worked as grinders, and matched the de- 
scription Margie had given. Workers' parole status might 
or might not be known to the company. 



418 



DARK FOREST: DEEP DANGER 

It turned out that that wouldn't be necessary. An Ore- 
gon state trooper had pulled over a blue Honda recently on 
a routine traffic violation. When he heard the bulletin 
broadcast to all police agencies, he realized the descrip- 
tion matched the car and the driver he had stopped earlier. 
He'd recognized the driver instantly: Dwain Lee Little, 
who had become infamous and familiar in the minds of 
many Oregon officers. After his last parole, he had moved 
to the Tigard area. 

Dwain had had the same parole officer for years, a man 
who had started out with great hopes for him. The PO con- 
firmed that Dwain had worked for Metalcraft during the 
fall and winter of 1979. He promised to obtain a mug shot 
of Little to include in a photo laydown when — and if — 
Margie Hunter was well enough to look at it. 

At 8:00 p.m. an Oregon state trooper spotted the blue 
Honda, and Dwain Little was arrested on a charge of at- 
tempted homicide. 

A search warrant for his home was executed, and inves- 
tigators seized six knives, several items of men's clothing, 
and a handwritten log of his activities. A subsequent search 
produced ten thousand rounds of .22 ammunition. 

His parole officer said Dwain Little had been on his lat- 
est parole for three years and one month without any seri- 
ous problems. He had seemed to be an average citizen and 
was consistently employed at the Sweetheart Corporation 
until July of 1979, when he quit his job there because he 
couldn't get along with a new supervisor. Next, he moved 
to Idaho to work in a steel factory with his brother-in-law, 
but that relationship deteriorated after two months, and he 



419 



ANN RULE 

came back to Oregon — and Metalcraft. Little was laid off 
because he sustained a hand injury that required surgery. 
He had been unemployed for five months. 

His wife, Linda, had given birth to their first child — a 
son — only five weeks before his vicious attack on Margie 
Hunter. 

"Most facets of their everyday life," D wain's parole 
officer said, "were being met in an appropriate manner." 

Or seemed to be. 

Dwain Lee Little hadn't spent much of his adult life 
outside prison walls, and his joblessness and having a 
baby to care for might have caused him to disintegrate into 
violence once again, although that explanation was cer- 
tainly no excuse for what he had done to Margie Hunter. 

Dwain was thirty-one now, and he still didn't know 
who he was; he knew only what he wanted, and, as always, 
he had seized it. He was a mad dog behind a smiling face, 
a walking, breathing time bomb. Even though he had gone 
back to prison before for having a deadly weapon in his 
possession, he had apparently been unable to give up guns 
and knives. What on earth was he intending to do with ten 
thousand bullets? 

It made the investigators shudder to think of it. 

Even his heretofore trusting parole officer recom- 
mended that his parole should be revoked at once. 



Dwain Little was held in the Washington County Jail for 
only a week; in the interests of public safety, he was set to 
be transported to the Oregon State Penitentiary in Salem 
on June 9. Corrections officer Clarence Hedrick and Vir- 

420 



i 



DARK FOREST: DEEP DANGER 

ginia Wolff of the Washington County warrants division 
accompanied one female and two male prisoners — includ- 
ing Little — in a van headed south on the 1-5 freeway. 
Dwain Little and the other male prisoner were chained 
together with leg irons, and they each wore handcuffs 
attached to a belly chain. , 

They hadn't gotten more than twenty miles on their 
forty-five-mile trip when Dwain said the jail nurse had 
given him a diuretic pill that caused water to build up in 
his system. 

"I have to go every few minutes," he said, as he begged 
Hedrick to pull into the next rest stop. 

Hedrick refused. At that point, Dwain became hysterical 
and threatened to urinate in his clothes and all over the van. 

Hedrick wasn't happy, but he stopped at the rest stop 
just south of the Tualatin River. He explained the radio 
system to Ms. Wolff, and told her to call for help if any- 
thing untoward should happen, gave her their exact loca- 
tion, and then locked the van doors so no one could get in 
or out while he was in the restroom with the two male 
prisoners. 

When they were inside the restroom, Dwain Little said 
he was getting sick and his bowels were loose. He wanted 
the chain around his waist removed. Using the extra set of 
handcuffs from his own belt, Hedrick handcuffed Dwain's 
left hand to the bar in the handicapped stall, and then re- 
moved Little's right hand from his belly chain, allowing 
him to defecate. When he was finished, Hedrick put the 
right cuff back on Little's belly chain. 

Hedrick moved to unhook his left handcuff, but sud- 
denly Dwain Little wrenched free of it and kicked Hedrick 

421 



ANN RULE 

in the groin, and a struggle ensued. If both inmates had 
turned on the corrections officer, he might well have been 
a dead man — but the other prisoner chose to help Hedrick 
instead of Little. 

Hedrick had Dwain around the neck and then in a hair- 
hold against the wall, and the helpful prisoner removed 
Hedrick's extra handcuffs and snapped them around both 
Little's wrists. 

Dwain Little looked at the other prisoner and hissed, 
"You're dead . . ." They didn't doubt he meant the threat, 
and the convict who had saved Hedrick's life was soon 
housed in protective custody. 

Little's futile escape attempt may have been his last 
hurrah. He was now charged with attempted murder, first- 
degree rape, first-degree sodomy, and first-degree kidnap- 
ping. He initially pleaded not guilty to all the charges. 
Under a plea agreement, the sodomy charge was dropped. 

On November 11, 1980, he was sentenced to twenty 
years for attempted murder, twenty years for rape, twenty 
years for kidnapping; each had a ten-year mandatory min- 
imum. His terms would be served consecutively. The earli- 
est he could be released would be in thirt>' years, when he 
would be over sixty years old. 

As he pronounced sentence. Judge Ashmanskas said, 'T 
find the case here are crimes involving great violence, 
bodily harm, extreme cruelty, or callousness. I do believe 
Mr. Little is dangerous, by whatever criteria, whatever for- 
mulas they may invoke; I find that he is an unusual risk to 
the safety of the public — based upon his psychiatric evalu- 
ations ... I also find this to be supported by the nature of 



422 



DARK FOREST: DEEP DANGER 

these particular offenses as well as his prior criminal his- 
tory. Two victims are enough, Mr. Little, and I am not 
going to chance a third victim." 

But were there only two victims? Orla Fay, yes. Margie 
Hunter, yes. But deputies and troopers looked closely now 
at the still unsolved Cowden case. 

Dwain Lee Little had long been the prime suspect in 
the deaths of Richard, Belinda, David, and Melissa 
Cowden on Labor Day weekend, six years earlier. He was 
out on parole at that time and living with his parents in 
Ruch, Oregon — eighteen miles downstream on the Apple- 
gate River. He was found carrying a .22-caliber pistol a 
few months later and returned to prison. The California 
tourists had seen two men and a woman who resembled 
the Littles in the Cowdens' campsite area after their family 
disappeared. Even their description of the strange trio's 
pickup truck matched the one Stone and Pearl owned. An 
old miner who lived in a cabin farther up Sturgis Fork 
Creek said that the Little family had stopped at his place 
on Monday morning, the day after the Cowdens disap- 
peared. The Littles had even signed a guestbook the miner 
kept to remind him of his visitors. 

When questioned, the Little family members all denied 
any knowledge of the Cowdens' disappearance. Dwain 
Lee said he had been away on "business" that weekend on 
the southern Oregon coast, and had returned to meet up 
with his parents for a trip "into the mountains" on Sunday 
morning. 

Dwain Little had refused to take a lie-detector test. If 
he had, and if he passed it, the charges against him for 



423 



ANN RULE 

"felon in possession of a firearm" would have been 
dropped. But he had chosen to go back to prison rather 
than submit to a lie-detector test. 

Why was he so afraid of the polygraph test? Maybe he 
had something more to hide, something that was far worse 
than the gun charges. ... 

The tiny town of Ruch, where the Little family lived in 
the fall of 1974, was the closest town to Copper. And yet 
when asked what route he'd taken from the Pacific coast to 
Ruch, Dwain repeatedly said he took the road that did not 
go through Copper, even though that would have been the 
shortest way. 

Investigators had seized the Littles' truck and processed 
it for any possible evidence linking it to the Cowdens. They 
found it was as clean as if it had just rolled off the produc- 
tion line in Detroit. They had never seen a tmck so meticu- 
lously cared for. 

Dwain Little had been back in the Oregon State Pen for 
almost a year when there seemed to be a break in the 
Cowden case. A convict who had shared a cell with Little 
sent a message through the corrections staif that he needed 
to talk to detectives. 

Rusty Kelly* had a story to tell. He swore that Dwain 
Little had admitted to him that he was the one who killed 
the Cowdens. He had given him details. Moreover, Little 
was spearheading an escape plan that involved sixteen 
prisoners. Kelly said he was one of those, but he'd never 
really intended to follow through. He offered to show offi- 
cials a cache of weapons that were being saved to use in 
the mass escape. 

Jailhouse informants aren't the best source of informa- 

424 



DARK FOREST: DEEP DANGER 

tion, and they can be reduced to mincemeat by defense 
attorneys, but the detectives gave Kelly a polygraph test 
regarding the escape details — and he passed easily. They 
deliberately didn't ask him any questions on the Cowdens' 
massacre during the lie-detector test. 

He led them to the hidden arms. 

The media announced that the grand jury in Jackson 
County would consider this new information, and a "true 
bill" indicting Dwain Lee Little in the four murders would 
be handed down any day. 

But it never came. 

Lawmen in Jackson County still had no physical evi- 
dence that would absolutely link Little to the murders of a 
family who met a monster as they camped out. He was al- 
ready in prison for what would probably be the rest of his 
life. Unless he escaped, he wasn't a danger to anyone — 
except, perhaps, to Rusty Kelly, who had snitched on him. 

Today, the handsome, slender youth of 1964 is an old 
man, barely recognizable. He is overweight, with skin the 
greenish gray of prison pallor, and thinning hair; the lines 
on his face have solidified into a sullen stare. The charm 
he evinced in his youth no longer works. While laymen in 
Oregon may not remember him, there are few police offi- 
cers — working and retired — who don't recall him in- 
stantly. Their first comment is always: "Yeah, I remember 
him. He's the one who killed the Cowden family." 

But that has never been proved. The circumstantial evi- 
dence against him is voluminous; the hard evidence is still 
missing. No one had heard of DNA matching back in 
1974. Today, there is nothing left to use for comparison. 

Little continues to file requests and legal papers as he 

425 



ANN RULE 

still hopes to be released. His thirty-year minimum sen- 
tence is up in 2010, but there is no guarantee that he will 
be paroled. He could be locked up until 2040, when he 
will be over ninety years old. 

It would be a great kindness to the Cowdens' extended 
family if Dwain Lee Little would confess to their murders 
and ask forgiveness. 

It might shorten his sentence somewhat, but it's not like 
him to confess. He never really has. Within his family 
Dwain Lee could do no wrong, and, as Pearl Little said 
once, "As long as he tells me he's innocent, I will believe 
him." 



Margie Hunter impressed her doctors with her sheer grit 
and determination. She faced many operations, and even 
after they were accomplished, she was left with a number 
of permanent handicaps. Her left foot and lower leg had 
lost most of their sensation, and there was some atrophy 
that might get worse. Margie's right hand and wrist had 
been slashed to the bone, and with all the tendons severed, 
she had a profound lack of feeling there — a far more dif- 
ficult situation in a hand than a foot. Her thumb was 
trapped in her palm because the muscles at its base were 
cut. She could tell the difference between hot and cold, 
sharp and dull, but her finer dexterity and motor skills 
would be compromised. 

"I anticipate," one of her surgeons wrote, "in the ftiture, 
she will become leftrhanded and use her right hand only 
as a 'helping hand.' " 



426 



DARK FOREST: DEEP DANGER 

Margie also had some scars that were not crippling but 
were cosmetically damaging. 

She worked hard at physical therapy to make her hand 
and leg as strong as they could be. She would need them 
more, soon. Her baby was still alive and well inside her. 
She gave birth just before Christmas 1980. 

She would never forget Dwain Lee Little or his cruelty, 
but she was ready to move ahead with her life. One thing 
that Margie didn't know was that Dwain might have been 
stalking her. A Christmas card that Metalcraft sent out in 
1979 featured a group of employees. Detectives saw that 
Dwain Little was standing right beside Margie Hunter in 
the photo on the card. She may not have noticed him — but 
it was quite possible that he had noticed her, learned 
, where she lived, and made a practice of driving the road- 
ways near her apartment. On June 2, 1980, he had no busi- 
ness at all there as he drove up and down the Old Highway 
99. No business, perhaps, but watching Margie. 



Wes Cowden, Richard's brother, has gone over endless 
possibilities of what might have happened to Richard, 
Belinda, David, and Melissa, or why anyone would target 
them. It was possible someone had been watching Belinda 
while Richard and David were at the country store — and 
Richard walked in on an attack on his wife. More likely, 
he had looked first at the killer carrying a .22 rifle as just 
another camper. Wes described Richard as "trusting" and 
thought he'd probably struck up a conversation with a 
stranger. 



427 



ANN RULE 

"You don't want to get in my brother's situation," Wes 
said. "Because I'm sure things were out of control before 
he even knew there was a problem. 

"My brother was different than me," he continued. "On 
an outing like that, he wouldn't have been carrying a 
weapon. And I wouldn't think about being up there with- 
out one." 

Wes Cowden's children and other members of their ex- 
tended family still live with the threat that someone might 
have a grudge against them. Someone who walks free. 
Wes Cowden isn't convinced that Dwain Lee Little killed 
Richard and his family. "I'd still like to know for sure who 
did it, and that if Little did do it, he'll never be freed from 
prison." 

It is a terrible legacy for Wes and his sister, Susan, to 
live with. And it's a chilling fear in the small communities 
and homes near Carberry and Sturgis creeks and the Ap- 
plegate Valley area, especially when the Spanish moss 
droops from the trees, ground fog covers the forest floor in 
autumn, and old memories come back. 

Some old-timers there say the campground is haunted. 

There is still the chance that some infinitesimal evi- 
dence or a rusted .22-caliber gun is up there, and that elk 
hunters, loggers, or campers who have never heard of the 
Cowden family will find it. 

If they do come across something that seems useless to 
them, but which might be purer gold than any amateur 
miner could find there, they should contact the Oregon 
State Police. 



428 



Free Press 
proudly presents 



IN THE STILL OF THE NIGHT 

Ann Rule 



Available in hardcover 

May 2010 

from Free Press 



Turn the page for a preview of /« the Still of the Night 



I 



IN THE STILL OF 
THE NIGHT: 

THE STRANGE DEATH 
OF RONDA REYNOLDS 



Even those who view a glass as half-fiill have mo- 
ments when they wonder if their Hves are too perfect to 
last. For some, the warm wafting breezes of spring redo- 
lent with the fragrance of flowers are difficult; there is too 
much nostalgia to deal with. For others, a new love can 
bring with it a fear of losing something more precious 
than we ever could have imagined. Similarly, holidays are 
times fraught with tension for many people. 

Everyone hopes for- a warm and loving gathering of 
family and friends, doors locked against the outside world 
once everyone arrives. And yet there is an almost sublimi- 
nal fear that someone we love could be in an accident on 
the way to Grandmother's house or wherever the celebra- 
tion is to be held. 

At Thanksgiving and Christmas, weather conditions 
can be icy and stormy, making roads dangerous to traverse 
and weighing down the wings of planes. 

We worry, usually silently, and watch the clock until 
our roll call is complete. To lose someone on a holiday 
means that every anniversary that comes after will be 
marked by sorrowfiil remembrance. 

433 



I suspect that mothers agonize the most. Even when our 
children are grown, we would much prefer them to be safe 
beneath our wings, and sometimes we long for the days 
when we could tuck them into cribs and know that we 
were there to protect them from any harm. 

Barb Thompson was like that, even though she rarely 
betrayed her concern. She wanted her two children to 
grow up, realize their dreams, and fly free. Like all good 
mothers, she had let go of her babies, confident that they 
were independent and fiilly capable adults, able to take 
care of themselves. 

And they hadn't let her down; her daughter, Ronda, 
thirty-three, was a Washington state trooper for almost a 
decade, for heaven's sake, responsible for the safety of 
others as well as herself If she couldn't take care of her- 
self, what woman could? 

Barb's son. Freeman, was almost a decade younger than 
Ronda. Barb was very young when Ronda was born, only 
twenty-one, and it probably was just as well that she had 
only her daughter to raise then. It hadn't been easy for 
Barb. The responsibility of bringing up her children on her 
own much of the time was a challenge. Nevertheless, Bar- 
bara always put them first, and she often worked two jobs 
to support them. 

Although she and her mother, Virginia Ramsey, had 
tangled often when she was a child and a teenager, it was 
Virginia who became Barb's strongest support. Virginia 
had been married for more than twenty years to the only 
man she had ever loved, bringing up three children on 
"less than a shoestring," when Barb's father deserted her 
for another woman. She was totally devastated. 



"Somehow," Barb recalled, "Ronda's birth gave her a 
reason to go on, and I sure did need her. She took care of 
Ronda while I worked as many jobs as I could, helped me 
raise my little girl. She never complained. My mom was 
always there — and Ronda cherished her grandmother." 

Although Barb would have romantic relationships from 
time to time, the core of her family would always be her 
children — Ronda and Freeman — her mother, Virginia, and 
Barb herself They had seen one another thiough so many 
hard times and always emerged together. 

Ronda was a lovely-looking child with a face like a 
rose, something that would never change. She was Virgin- 
ia's first grandchild, and her "Gramma" often said she was 
"an angel in disguise." 

"She never caused us any trouble," Barb Thompson 
said. "She had perfect attendance and straight As all the 
way through the ninth grade. She was never rebellious, 
and she never touched drugs or alcohol. Gramma taught 
her to sew and cook and do all the girly stuff, and if she 
got in trouble for not doing her homework or chores, she 
went to Gramma for comfort. My mother was there to 
share her dreams and plans and her crushes with. She was 
Ronda's 'safe place.'" 

Ronda had many dreams, and she managed to carry out 
a lot of them. She loved dogs and horses, and she was a 
champion equestrian before she was a teenager. She 
shared her love of horses with her mother, who was often 
up before dawn to take care of the horses on her land near 
Spokane. 

When Ronda was seventeen, she had her own quarter 
horse, a gelding she called Clabber Toe. She and Clabber 



Toe managed to travel to the 1984 Quarter Horse Youth 
World Show in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where they cleared 
jumps as easily as if Clabber Toe had wings. Ronda had 
saved her money and two local trainers in Spokane had 
helped. They'd recognized Ronda 's innate talent and ad- 
mired her devotion to practice that took many hours. 

Ronda had another dream. She wanted to grow up to be 
a Washington state patrol trooper. That was a tall order; 
there were no female officers when Ronda was a little girl. 
There weren't even any short troopers. The image of the 
state patrol was one of tall men, wearing blue-gray uni- 
forms and wide-brimmed hats. 

That didn't daunt Ronda. She had taken on challenges 
all of her life and she knew that women were beginning to 
take their place beside men in law enforcement. She never 
gave up on her plans to be a trooper, although she could 
not have imagined some of the problems her femininity in 
a male world would bring. 

The pretty girl from eastern Washington wanted it all — 
as people tend to say about women who work and hope to 
have a family/home life, too. 

She wanted to marry one day, and, especially, to have 
children. 

She almost achieved it all. 



It was Wednesday, December 16, 1998. Christmas season. 
Ronda lived over on what Washingtonians call "the coast," 
and the rest of her family lived three hundred miles away 
in Spokane. Barbara was looking forward to a five-day 
visit from Ronda, as were her grandmother and brother. It 



wouldn't exactly be a Norman Rockwell Christmas, al- 
though Spokane could count on snow. It was far colder in 
eastern Washington than it was in Seattle. 

Ronda's visit wasn't really to celebrate the holiday; she 
was going home to those who loved her for comfort and 
advice. After eleven years as a Washington state trooper, 
she had resigned from the force. Her life seemed to be 
crashing down around her like boulders breaking free of 
unstable cliffs in the mountain passes, which often hap- 
pened. Her first marriage — to a fellow trooper — had ended 
in divorce, and her second marriage of less than a year's 
duration was almost over. She was far from giving up; she 
was too strong for that, but she needed to come home to 
her center while she decided what to do next. 

Ronda never spent much time weeping about her mis- 
fortunes in life. Rather, she got mad, and she had always 
managed to come back wiser, but not more bitter. In that, 
she was like her mother. The two of them would talk, and 
weigh different options, and Ronda would rise like a phoe- 
nix from the ashes of her marriage to Ron Reynolds. 

Although Barb Thompson had kept her mouth shut, she 
had never understood Ronda's attraction to Ronald Reyn- 
olds. He was at least twenty years older than she was, a 
school principal, and a very active Jehovah's Witness. He 
wasn't nearly as handsome as Mark Liburdi, the trooper 
who was her first husband. 

And when Ronda met him, Ron was married with five 
sons, three of them still living at home! 

When Ronda was grieving for the loss of her first mar- 
riage, the career she had loved, and her failure to carry a 
child to term, Ron Reynolds had offered himself as her 



spiritual counselor and her concerned advisor. Long be- 
fore she fell in love with Ron, he had divested himself of 
his wife. 

And Ron and Ronda were married in January 1998. 
She had high hopes for them. Always generous, Ronda 
brought her furniture to Ron's house and put almost all of 
her $15,000 retirement pay from the Washington State Pa- 
trol into the house they now shared on Twin Peaks Drive in 
Toledo, Washington. 

Ron moved his three youngest sons into the house, and 
Ronda brought her beloved Rottweillers. If there had only 
been room, she would have brought Clabber Toe, too. 

It was a new year and a new life for her, and for her 
husband. 



i 



Chapter One 



It was 1:40 a.m. on Wednesday, December 16, 1998, 
when Barb Thompson was jarred from sleep by the sound 
of her phone ringing. Groggy, she reached across her bed 
for it, knowing after it rang five times that her answering 
machine would pick up. She grabbed it on the third ring, 
muttering, "Hello." 

She heard only the buzz of the dial tone. 

She lay awake, wondering if she had been dreaming — 
but she was sure it really had rung. Expecting it to ring 
again, she waited. There was nothing more. 

Barb had talked to Ronda less than two hours earlier. 
Her daughter had been calling from her home in Toledo, 
Washington, a tiny town located halfway between Seattle 
and Portland, Oregon. Ronda said then that she would be 
flying to Spokane on that Wednesday, scheduled to arrive 
at 12:59 p.m. She had debated flying out of Portland, but 
had decided to take an Alaska Airlines flight from SeaTac 
Airport in Seattle. A longtime friend, a police officer in 
Des Moines, Washington, whom Ronda had once almost 
married, had offered to drive the seventy miles to Toledo 
to pick her up and drive her back north to SeaTac Airport. 



The two, mother and daughter, had talked for a long 
time. Ronda was actually quite upbeat in her attitude when 
she said she didn't mind walking away from her short 
marriage, but that she was determined to recoup the thou- 
sands of dollars she had put into the house, along with all 
her efforts in painting, decorating, and making it a home. 

"I'm actually looking forward to getting on with my 
life. Mom," Ronda said. "I just need a few days with you 
guys to decide a definite course of action." 

"You're sure?" Barb asked. "You don't have to put on a 
happy face for me. You know that." 

"I'm sure. I'm fine. I can't wait to see you all tomor- 
row." 

Freeman, Ronda 's "little" brother who was seven inches 
taller than she was, would take his mother to the airport in 
Spokane. Then they would swing by Gramma Virginia's 
house — which was right next door to Barb's. 

They were all beside themselves with anticipation; they 
hadn't had a chance to really visit with Ronda since Moth- 
er's Day. That was when Ronda had put an adorable tum- 
ble of black puppy fluff in her mother's arms. Daisy was a 
very big dog now, and Barb wanted to show her daughter 
what good care she had taken of her. Ronda also had a 
new filly she hadn't seen since Mother's Day when the colt 
was only a few days old. And, of course, there was Clabber 
Toe. He would recognize Ronda at once, and it wouldn't 
be long before the two of them would go riding off across 
Barb's acreage. 

Freeman pulled up in front of the Spokane airport, and 
Barbara asked him if he wanted to go to the gate to meet 
his sister. 



"No, Mom, you go. I think I can wait. Til watch the 
door and get her baggage when you guys get back here." 

He hadn't quite brought his car to a complete stop 
when Barb leaped onto the curb and whirled around to 
close the door. 

"Slow down. Mom," he laughed. "She's not going any- 
where. You have plenty of time." 

Barb Thompson walked into the main terminal, realiz- 
ing at once that she'd forgotten the airport was in the midst 
of a massive remodeling. She had to walk all the way to 
the far north end of the terminal to reach the Alaska and 
Horizon Airlines arrival gate. 

It suddenly became intensely important that she 
glimpse Ronda and give her a big hug. But when she got 
to the gate, she found out that Ronda 's flight had been can- 
celled, and the next flight from Seattle wasn't scheduled to 
arrive until just before 3:00 p.m. 

Freeman's face dropped when he heard that. "She's on 
flight 2198 now," his mother told him. "It's due in at two 
fifty-five p.m. It's not that much longer." 

It was just a little over two more hours, but it seemed an 
eternity to Barb and Freeman. They drove home, not stop- 
ping at Gramma Virginia's house. The phone was ringing 
as they walked in the door. Barb expected it to be Ronda, 
calling as she always did if she had a change in plans so 
they wouldn't worry. But it was her own mother, demand- 
ing to know why they hadn't dropped in with Ronda. 

"Her flight was delayed. Mom," Barb said. "We have to 
go back to the airport at three. Freeman's on his way to 
your house now to grab a bowl of cereal. He'll pick me up 
at two fifteen." 



"Dam," Ronda's grandmother said. "I don't know if I 
can wait that long." 

Barb tried to make her mother feel better by telling her 
that Ronda would surely have called if she had changed 
her mind and wasn't coming. Ronda always called. 
"You're right, Gramma. I just want her here now, too! , 
Maybe she'll decide to transfer after her probationary six| 
months on her store security job, and then we'll have her 
here all the time. Wouldn't that be great?" 

"Don't get your hopes up. You know how she feels 
about the weather over here." 

Barb busied herself loading the dishwasher, and just as 
she'd put the last plate in its slot, she glanced out the win- 
dow over the kitchen sink. She saw a green-and-white 
squad car parked at her mother's house. It looked like a 
Spokane County Sheriff's unit. 

She wasn't alarmed. Whenever there was a loose or in- 
jured horse, the deputies usually came to her to ask her 
who owned them. She was the "go-to" expert on horses in 
her end of the county. 

Daisy sat by the door expectantly, her whole body wig- 
gling with delight as she was about to meet someone new. 
Daisy knew no strangers. She was always looking for 
someone to play with. 

Barb was usually glad to help round up wayward 
horses, but it never took less than two hours. Right now, 
she didn't want to be delayed when she was just about to 
go back to the airport to pick up Ronda. 

But she realized that she couldn't refuse to help; she 
lived so close to a four-lane, much-traveled highway. 
Ronda, of all people, would understand and she could call 



Gramma Virginia when she landed if Barb wasn't home. 

She opened her front door, and an older man stood 
there, gazing with some doubt into Daisy's brown eyes. 
Barb grinned at the stranger and said, "She's okay — she 
doesn't know she's a Rottweiler. She's hoping you've 
come to play with her." 

At that point, Barb Thompson saw that her visitor had a 
bar with writing etched on it pinned to his shirt. She 
leaned forward and read "Chaplain." 

But what was he doing at her front door? Her world 
tilted only a centimeter off its endless axis and she felt a 
knot in the pit of her stomach. A chaplain usually meant 
something bad had happened to someone. 

She would not allow herself to believe that had any 
connection to her. 

"Are you Barbara Thompson?" the gray-haired man 
asked. 

"Yes, I am," she said, opening the door wider. "But I 
only have a couple of minutes. We have to get to the air- 
port to pick up my daughter." 

He hesitated for a moment, and then said, "I have a 
message here. I'm so sorry to tell you that your mother 
has passed away and you need to call your father." 

Relief washed over Barb's body. Whatever had hap- 
pened, it couldn't involve her or her family. "That can't be 
right," she said. "My father passed away years ago, and my 
mother lives right next door. You were just at her house." 

The chaplain pressed on. "I have a message that you are 
to call your father at the coroner's office in Lewis County." 

She felt dizzy. Lewis County? She didn't know anyone 
in Lewis County. Lewis County, where? What state? 



"Do you have a telephone number? Do you have a 
nameT' 

He shook his head, apologizing. "I'm sorry — ^but that's 
all I have." 

"Was there anything about a Ramsey, or a Clark, Li- 
burdi or Reynolds?" 

Again, he shook his head. If he hadn't arrived in a sher- 
iff's car, she would have thought the man was demented — 
someone who went around knocking on strange doors and 
scaring the hell out of people. Why didn 't he have more 
information? This could all be resolved so quickly if he 
only had a name to give her. 

''Your name is Barbara Thompson, right?" he pressed. 

"Yes, that's me. But my mother is right next door and 
she is very much alive. There must be a mistake here." 

"This is7\0 West Highway Two, isn't it?" 

"Yes." 

"This is definitely the address and name I was given, 
and I was told to tell you that you need to call your father." 

Barbara wished Freeman would show up. The "chap- 
lain" was giving her the creeps. 

She suddenly recalled that there was another Barbara 
Thompson living in Spokane, a woman who worked at the 
racetrack. In the past, she had received some of the other 
Barbara's mail and phone calls. She didn't have any idea 
where the other woman lived, but she was sure the sher- 
iff's office could find out. Barb looked at her watch and 
told the chaplain that she really had to leave for the air- 
port. 

Once more. Barb jumped from her son's car and headed 
for the Alaska/Horizon arrival gate. Luckily, Ronda's 



plane wouldn't land for another fifteen minutes. Barb 
knew she had plenty of time, but she found herself run- 
ning down the corridor, darting between people, baggage, 
children, and strollers. All the chairs were taken when she 
got to the gate, but she didn't care. She stood with her eyes 
glued to the double doors that would soon spring open and 
release scores of passengers. And Ronda would be one of 
them. 

"It was Christmastime," Barbara Thompson remem- 
bered a decade later. "Joy and laughter were in the air. We 
would be having Christmas together for the first time in 
nearly eight years. Ronda had to leave on the twenty-first 
so we planned Christmas dinner and our gift exchange 
early. It was enough that we could just be together." 

It was 2:50 p.m. and Barb watched the incoming planes 
circle in the cold sky and then taxi into their gates. Finally, 
she saw the Alaska Airlines jet and knew it must be Ron- 
da's plane. She watched the ground crew wave their big 
orange wands and lead it into a covered ramp, then heard 
its engines winding down. 

In her mind, she could see Ronda 's face. She knew her 
daughter would be one of the last to deplane; she liked to 
let all those with babies, the elderly, and disabled passen- 
gers exit safely, and she always grinned widely when she 
saw her mother's face change fi-om impatience to delight. 

Barb stretched and strained her neck, to see beyond the 
departing passengers as far as she could. At 3:00, the last 
of them straggled in — a mother holding a baby in one 
arm, and a little girl about five crying and pulling on her 
other arm. 

No one else. But that could not be. Two flight atten- 



dants walked past Barb, pulling their luggage, talking and 
joking, and the plane's door slammed shut behind them. 
She wanted to confront them and demand to know where 
Ronda was. But she didn't. 

"I was suddenly nauseated," Barb Thompson recalled. 
"My mind whirled and I felt dizzy. Where was Ronda? I 
could see the chaplain's face in my mind now. His words 
were screaming in my ears. 'Your father wants you to call 
him at the Lewis County Coroner's Office.' It hit me like a 
ton of bricks. Oh my God! My babyl No, no, it can't be! 
He hadn't been talking about my little girl. She must have 
just fallen asleep and didn't get off the plane. Any moment 
now the doors will swing open and there she'll be." 

But Ronda wasn't there. She hadn't been on the plane, 
or even on the manifest list of passengers. 

Barb made up every possible reason why her daughter 
hadn't arrived as she had promised— every reason but the 
one that tortured her the most. She simply could not face 
that possibility. 

Finally, she dialed Information and asked for the num- 
ber of the Lewis County Coroner's Office. When the oper- 
ator asked her the state. Barb still didn't know. At length, 
the operator came back on the line and gave her a number 
beginning with a "360" prefix. Barb's knees buckled. That 
was Ronda 's prefix. 

Lewis County hadn't meant anything to her; she 
thought Ronda lived in Thurston County. 

Knowing what she didn't want to know. Barb Thomp- 
son called the number for the corone^r's office. She identi- 
fied herself to the voice that answered. 

"Are you Ronda Reynolds's mother?" 



"Yes ... I am." 

"I'm sorry to inform you that your daughter died this 
morning." 

''How? " Barbara didn't recognize her own voice. It was 
hollow. 

"Your daughter committed suicide ..." 



She didn't believe it. She never would. Over eleven years, 
Barb Thompson has worked to find the truth about her 
daughter's death. She has seen it declared suicide, acci- 
dental, unexplained, and then suicide again. 

But nothing fits. Nothing matches. There are a number 
of suspects in Ronda's death and a number of motives. By 
the end of In the Still of the Night, the answer will surface. 
Readers may well be instrumental in finding the truth, and 
in doing that, find justice at last for Ronda Reynolds. 



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ANNRUU 



is the author of twenty-nine 
New York Times bestsellers, 
all of them still in print. A 
former Seattle police officer, 
she knows the crime scene 
firsthand. She is a certified 
instructor for police training 
seminars and lectures to law enforcement officers, 
prosecutors, and forensic science organizations, 
including the FBI. For more than three decades, she 
has been a powerful advocate for victims of violent 
crime. She has testified before U.S. Senate Judiciary 
subcommittees on serial murder and victims' rights, 
and was a civilian adviser to VI-CAP (Violent 
Criminal Apprehension Program). A graduate of 
the University of Washington, she holds a Ph.D. in 
Humane Letters from Willamette University. She 
lives near Seattle and can be contacted through her 
Web page at www.annrules.com. 



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